In Arizona, the fourth amendment prohibits a police officer from entering your home without authority of law, which means a warrant.Exceptions to this include an emergency situation or if they have your consent to enter. So if an officer without a warrant asks to enter your home to have a look around or interview anyone, you are well within your rights to say no.
There are other situations when the police can enter and search your home even if they don’t have a warrant. These reasons include the following:
- If they have your permission – If at anytime, an officer asks you or someone you live with if they can come in and do a search and you say yes, they are allows to enter and conduct a legal search. This applies even if you’re not at home yourself, but a family member or roommate is.
- If something illegal or questionable is in plain view – When a police officer is able to see illegal or unlawful activity or items from where they are outside your home, they can legally enter and conduct a search. This could include illegal drugs or weapons.
- If the search is pursuant to an arrest – At the time of an arrest, the police are able to search the area for evidence including weapons or accomplices. When the arrest happens inside a home, it allows the police to conduct a reasonable search of the property.
- If it is an emergency – As is the case in most legal matters, there is typically an exception when it comes to emergencies. This would include situations where a person’s life or health is in in danger or if the police are in “hot pursuit” or a suspect. When this is the case, the police are allowed to search the house or property.
- Potential destruction of evidence – If the officer believes that there is potential evidence that is being destroyed they can enter and secure the residence, but cannot search for anything until a warrant has been issued.
It’s always a good idea to be respectful and polite as you interact with the police. Don’t feel like you have to answer all of the officer’s questions, but remain respectful and do your best to find out the background information regarding the investigation.
You will want to contact an attorney right away. You’ll want to be sure to know your rights should the police return with a warrant. Arizona Criminal Law Attorney Charlie Naegle is happy to provide you with a free consultation to discuss your situation and go over the facts of what transpired.