View Our Practice Areas

Do police need a warrant to search a house? Nope. Not always.

Many people are familiar with a search warrant, a signed court order by a judge that allows police to lawfully search a certain place to look for certain items.

But search warrants aren't always required. Here are several instances where police do not need a search warrant to rifle through people's belongings-or even their house.

Search incident to arrest

If a person is being arrested in his or her home, authorities can conduct a warrantless search for weapons. This is often referred to as a protective sweep. Anything the cops do find can be used against that person-despite not having a warrant.

Exigent circumstances

Police officers are also allowed to conduct a search without a warrant if there is an emergency situation in which taking the time to get a valid search warrant would either put the public at risk of harm or because evidence would likely disappear or be destroyed.

Roommate consent

If a person shares a house or apartment with a roommate, that roommate can give police consent to search the common areas shared, such as the living room, bathroom or kitchen -even if the other person living there isn't present to give consent.

Plain view

If officers see weapons, drugs, contraband or anything other evidence in plain view (plain sight) they can lawfully take that evidence and use it as evidence to convict-all without the need for a warrant.

It's important to note that this area of far from cut and dry. Whether a search and seizure requires a warrant will often depend on the jurisdiction and individual circumstances. Those with questions about specific situations are encouraged to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Get Help Today

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Office Location:

The Law Office of Massey McClusky McClusky & Fuchs
3074 East Road
Memphis, TN 38128

Toll Free: 888-341-4226
Phone: 901-201-6747
Fax: 901-937-8004
Memphis Law Office Map

  • Best lawyers | Linking Lawyers and Clients Worldwide
  • NACDL | National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers | 1958
  • Super Lawyers
  • TACDL | wherever justice demands
  • Americas Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys | 2018 | Top 100
  • Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms | U.S.News 2015
  • Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms | U.S.News 2018
  • Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms | U.S.News 2019
  • ABF Fellows
VISA | Master Card | American Express | Discover Network | Paypal