Do North Carolina Police Officers Need a Warrant to Search Your Home?

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can the police search my car without a warrant?”


If you are familiar with your constitutional rights in the U.S., you probably know that the Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. In other words, police officers must have a warrant to search your home, person, and belongings.

seach-house-Charlotte-Monroe-Statesville-Criminal-defense-lawyer-300x244Any evidence discovered during an unlawful search would not be admissible in court. In certain situations, however, law enforcement officers in North Carolina can search homes without a warrant.


How Do Police Obtain a Warrant to Search a Home?

In North Carolina, a judge will issue a search warrant based on evidence compiled and presented by the police. The police must show probable cause or have a reasonable belief that you committed a crime or were involved in criminal activity in order to obtain a warrant to search your house.

The search warrant must specify the areas of your home that can be searched. Any evidence discovered during a lawful search can be used against you to charge you with a crime. However, if the police conduct an unlawful search, the evidence is considered inadmissible.

Note: Before letting the police enter your home to conduct a search, examine which areas of your home are covered by the search warrant.


When can the Police Search Your Home Without a Warrant?

Generally, police need a warrant to search your home in North Carolina. However, in limited circumstances, law enforcement officers may not need a warrant to lawfully conduct a search.

There are four ways in which police can search your home without a warrant:

  • Consent. You gave your voluntary consent to search your home. Consent must be voluntary, as federal and state laws prohibit police officers from obtaining consent by force, manipulation, threats, coercion, or intimidation.
  • Plain view. After a police officer has lawfully entered your home, they can seize any evidence that is in plain view.
  • Arrest. If you were arrested at your home, the police could search your home to gather evidence of your involvement in a crime. If you were arrested, law enforcement officers could lawfully search your person and the surrounding area without a warrant.
  • Emergency situations. If there is a reasonable belief that another person could be in danger or that evidence would be tampered with or destroyed by the time a judge issues a search warrant, the police may conduct a warrantless search of your home.


How a Charlotte Criminal Defense Attorney can Help

If the police searched your home without a warrant or you felt pressured to give consent to a home search, you may want to consult with a Charlotte criminal defense attorney to determine whether your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated. Here at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our experienced attorneys can help you determine whether the police had probable cause to search your home without a warrant.

If our criminal defense lawyers determine that the police searched your home unlawfully or violated your constitutional rights, we could help you fight for your rights and ensure that any evidence discovered during the unlawful home search is not used against you in court.

Schedule a consultation with our attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to determine whether your home was unlawfully searched. Call our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to evaluate your options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.





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