- April 5, 2023
- Police & You
What are the exceptions to the warrant requirement for searches?
People in Michigan have a reasonable expectation of privacy. It is one of the rights people have through the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. This prevents the police from simply entering a person’s home when they wish to search for evidence of a crime. The protection from unreasonable searches means that the police need to obtain a warrant before entering someone’s home to search for evidence.
Warrants must be presented to Judges who must sign them if they believe the application for the warrant demonstrates probable cause that the police will find evidence of crimes inside. Obtaining a warrant can take some time though as they need to be drafted, presented to and signed by a judge first.
Exceptions to warrant requirement
As such over the years there have been certain exceptions to the warrant requirement that has been recognized as valid by the courts. Some exceptions to the requirement for warrants are:
- Consent – if people voluntarily allow the police to enter
- When called for an emergency situation such as a medical emergency
- Exigent circumstances – situations where evidence of a crime could be easily destroyed before a warrant can be issued
- Chasing a suspect who committed a crime in another spot and the chase started before entering the home or premises
- Plain view – if the police are lawfully on the property and they see clear evidence of a crime in their sight without further investigation
If police do not have a warrant or there is not an exception that allows police to search a home, any evidence they find could be suppressed. This means that the Prosecutor will not be able to use that evidence to prove guilt and convictions become unlikely.
Many people in Michigan are charged with crimes each year. These charges are the result of police obtaining evidence that crimes were committed. How they obtained the evidence is very important though. People are innocent until proven guilty and they may have defenses when police obtain the evidence illegally. Experienced attorneys understand the potential defenses and may be able to protect your rights.