Warrantless Home Searches

How far can a citizen go to stop LEO from searching and confiscating anything?


As far as you want to risk life, limb and property. Or let them have it all and complain later.
Way to many variables to give a short answer or specifics.


Warrants are specific and you should read them when issued. If the police have a warrant they may search the specified areas on the warrant. If they don’t have a warrant you can deny them access to your property. If you don’t volunteer access they can come back with a warrant later. If you deny them access because they don’t have a warrant and they search anyways what ever they recover can’t be used in court because it is called fruit from the poisonous tree.


@Johnnyq60 makes some good points. I have to give the standard (albeit frustrating) answer - it depends.

What is the situation? Where are you (state as well as at home or away from home)? Why are they searching?

@MikeBKY will probably say something similar in more lawyer terms. :smiley:


Your timing on this thread is impeccable @KillJoy. First let’s talk about the states authority to search a home without consent or a warrant. This is controlled by the Fourth Amendment and the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, a home cannot be searched without a warrant. The only exceptions to this requirement is if an exigent circumstance exists that creates an urgent need for immediate action. The circumstances where exigent circumstances exist are hot pursuit of a fleeing suspect, threats to safety or threatened destruction of evidence.

If a fleeing suspect enters a home, the police can pursue the suspect in to a home. This type of search is limited to the areas where the suspect passed and what would be in plain sight or, if caught and arrested, a search incident to the arrest.

The second is a threat to safety. The most common of these is entering a home in a domestic violence situation if there is evidence the parties lives are threatened such a gunshots or hearing things inside the home being broken.

The third is when there is threatened destruction of evidence. However, if this is the case, the premise should be secured and people removed while a search warrant is being obtained.

SCOTUS rendered an opinion on Monday in CANIGLIA v. STROM ET AL. where police entered a home after the wife of the resident called and asked police to make a welfare check on her husband because he had said something about shooting himself. The police entered the home and seized Caniglia and his firearm under the “caretaking exception” to the 4th Amendment. SCOTUS disagreed with the current administrations attempt to extend this exception to the home.

"The very core of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee is the right of a person to retreat into his or her home and ‘there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.’” citing Florida v. Jardines, 569 U. S. 1, 6

Now, to answer the question on what you can do to stop police from searching without a warrant. The first thing is to not allow them to enter the home unless they have a warrant. If they enter, the best I can recommend is to request a supervisor to come to the scene. If they insist on the search, let them search and let the courts deal with the aftermath. The aftermath would be suppression of any evidence and state and federal civil rights violations for the unreasonable search. If possible video EVERYTHING!


:paraguay: :paraguay: :paraguay:

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Good question @Blacky! Red Flag laws that I have seen require a finding of probable cause before a court order is issued to confiscate firearms. It is the same standard as a warrant for a search and seizure and is as enforceable as a warrant.