When Can an Officer Conduct a Search?
An officer may conduct a search with your consent; pursuant to a search warrant or if you are subject to search as a condition of probation, parole or community supervision. You have a right, however, to refuse consent if the officer does not have a warrant or you are not subject to search as a condition of probation, parole or community supervision.
If you are arrested, an officer can search you, without a warrant, for weapons and evidence of illegal or stolen items. If you are booked and jailed, you may be subject to a full body search, including body cavities.
In certain emergencies, such as when an officer is attempting to prevent someone from destroying evidence, your home may be searched without your consent and without a warrant. If you are taken into custody in your home, an officer may search only the limited area in which you are arrested, without a warrant. Other rooms cannot be searched, unless the officer believes that other suspects are hiding in those rooms. While searching your home, an officer can seize evidence of any crime, such as stolen property or drugs, which is in plain view.
Your vehicle may be searched without your consent or a warrant if an officer has probable cause to believe it contains illegal or stolen items. If the police stop your vehicle for any reason, such as a broken taillight, they can seize any illegal items in plain view.
If you, your home or your car is searched illegally, a judge could rule that any evidence found during the search cannot be used against you in court.
Such a ruling often results in your case being dismissed for lack of evidence.