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When can the police legally search your property? 

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If you are under investigation for a crime, it may seem like the entire legal system is stacked against you. However, this may not be the case. The U.S Constitution protects your rights in multiple ways. 

One of the most important protections you are entitled to at all times is protected by the Fourth Amendment. Basically, the Fourth Amendment protects you from illegal searches and seizures. This means that the police cannot obtain evidence from you illegally during a criminal investigation. 

Here are two possible instances the police can legally search and seize your property in Ohio: 

When they have a valid warrant

If the police have reason to believe that there is evidence on your property that is relevant to the crime in question, they may approach the court to sign a warrant that grants them access to your property for the purpose of seizing said evidence. 

However, warrants are typically specific in scope. You may have the right to see and confirm that the warrant has been signed by the judge before granting police access to your property. 

When they have probable cause

Sometimes, the police (while on official patrol) may hear, smell or see something that suggests a crime is in progress. In this case, they might access and search your property without a warrant. 

An example would be if your driving pattern gives police reason to believe that you are drunk driving. Alternatively, when a suspect who is on hot pursuit enters a property, the police may not need a warrant to follow and arrest the suspect. 

Being under investigation for a crime is a big deal. Knowing your legal options can help you safeguard your constitutional rights when facing a criminal charge.