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Who can let the police into your home for a search?

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2023 | Felonies |

If you are a suspect in a criminal matter, law enforcement will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of evidence they can use against you. Part of this may involve coming to your home in search of evidence.

The 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure by law enforcement. Unless they have a warrant or there are exigent circumstances that indicate a crime may be in progress, the police can’t enter a home without a resident’s consent.

Can your roommate consent to a search?

It’s important to note that the police do not need every resident’s consent to enter a dwelling place. The consent of anybody who lives there may be enough.

Per a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, if one or more occupants of a dwelling who are physically present object to a search, the police may not go ahead and enter the property even if one occupant consents to the search. In this case, the police must obtain the warrant before coming back to conduct the search. 

However, if only one resident is present at the time the police come knocking, they can consent to the search. In that situation, the police can only search the property’s common areas as well as the consenting occupant’s personal space. The police cannot search the personal spaces of the other occupants who are not present in the home. In other words, unless they have a warrant, they cannot search the other residents’ private areas. 

Protecting your rights

If you are facing a criminal charge, it is in your best interest that you understand your legal options so you can effectively defend yourself and safeguard your rights and interests.