If a police officer believes a crime has been committed in your house, or believes there is evidence in your house that connects you or someone else who lives there to a crime, they may ask to search your home. Do you have the right to refuse? Here’s what you should understand.
Who May Legally Allow a Home Search?
Only certain individuals may legally consent to a home search performed by law enforcement. This includes:
The Renter or Owner of the Home
If you are the primary owner or renter of the residence, you have the ability to legally consent to a police search of your domicile. However, doing so may not necessarily be in your best interests.
A Partner, Spouse, or Other Primary Resident
A primary resident who resides in the home with you, such as your spouse or a partner who lives there, may also consent to a police search legally if you cannot give consent yourself.
A roommate may, in some instances, be able to allow the legal search of a domicile they share with others. They may consent to a search of their own private spaces, such as their bedroom, as well as public spaces they share with others like the living area and kitchen. However, they may not consent to the search of your own bedroom or other private spaces that do not belong to them.
An Older Child
Law enforcement may also accept the consent of an older child within the home if they answer the door and parents are not available. However, the child must be old enough to understand the circumstances.
Who May Not Consent to a Home Search
Most people cannot give legal consent for law enforcement to search your home. This includes but is not limited to:
- A landlord. With the exception of some emergencies, a landlord may not provide consent to search your home in your stead.
- A child too young to understand the situation.
- Housekeeping or maintenance staff.
Were You Arrested After the Search of Your Home? Attorney Thomas Kokonowski Can Help
After being subjected to a home search, you must act quickly to secure the advocacy of an experienced attorney and to protect your rights under the law. Being subjected to a home search can make you feel frightened and vulnerable, especially if you were arrested afterward.
Call Thomas Kokonowski today for your consultation or to learn more about your rights after a home search at 413-737-9700.