Home searches are often performed when law enforcement believes a crime has been committed in the home or there is evidence inside a domicile that is connected to a crime. What are your rights when it comes to consenting to or declining a search of your home? Here’s what to know.
Who Can Give Legal Consent to a Home Search?
There are only a few people who can legally consent to allow the police to perform a search of your home. Otherwise, anything found during the search may not be considered viable evidence. This includes:
The Renter or Homeowner
If you are the owner or renter of the home, you may consent to the search of it. Any evidence police find within your residence may be admitted into court if you are arrested.
A Primary Resident
Another adult primary resident of the home may also agree to a search. For example, your spouse or live-in partner can give what is considered legal consent if you are not home.
Older Children Under Some Circumstances
If an older child answers the door and the police believe they are old enough to understand the situation and provide consent to enter the home, they may ask the child to allow a search.
Roommates Under Some Circumstances
In some circumstances, a roommate can consent to the legal search of a domicile that you share. However, they may not consent to allow police to search private spaces that belong to you. For example, they may allow the police to search the living room, kitchen, and other shared spaces, as well as their own private space, but not the private spaces of others.
Who Cannot Legally Consent to a Search of My Home?
There are many people who cannot provide the consent for the police to legally search your domicile, including:
- Landlords. Generally, landlords cannot provide consent to police in place of the renter or primary resident, with the exception of some emergencies.
- Small children.
- Housekeepers, unless a staff member or live-in housekeeper.
The Police Searched My Home and Arrested Me — Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you were arrested after a search of your home, whether you consented to the search or not, it’s important that you secure strong legal advocacy. Being charged with a crime is a frightening experience, especially after having your home invaded and turned upside down by police.
Contact Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Chad Lewin today by calling (800) 458-1488.