The job of law enforcement is to enforce the law and protect the general public. Most people view police officers as figures of authority and treat them accordingly. The police do have certain powers, but they are not unlimited.
If law enforcement turns up at your door and states that they want to carry out a search of your property, you may think that there is nothing you can do to stop them. This isn’t the case though. Without your permission, they cannot carry out a search, unless they have probable cause or a valid search warrant.
What does probable cause mean?
There are different burdens of proof in criminal law, and probable cause is the standard that is required to carry out a search of your property. One example of probable cause would be if officers heard gunshots clearly coming from the house. This provides them with probable cause that a criminal offense is in progress and justifies a search.
What does it mean to have a search warrant?
If there are no obvious signs of criminal activity then police officers will have to rely on a valid search warrant to enter your property. The warrant must contain the correct address and it must also be time-stamped and court-approved. If officers want to take items away from the property, then the warrant must either list these items or give them permission to take anything that they deem necessary.
You are protected by the Fourth Amendment of the US constitution from unlawful searches and seizures. If you’ve been accused of criminal offenses on the basis of a search, then make sure you have some legal guidance on your side.