What Should I Do If Police Want To Search My Home?

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingNov 04, 2019

The easy answer to this question is don't let them, but the police are a little more persistent than that, and a lot of times, they will get a search warrant to search your house.  If they come with a valid search warrant, then you ought to get out of their way and let them explore the home. You certainly don't have to provide any statements to them while searching the house.  Keep your mouth shut, ask for your attorney, and don't answer any of your questions.

They do try to get tricky sometimes.  In other words, sometimes, they do not have a valid search warrant.  So, if they don't have a valid search warrant and ask to search your home, you certainly have the right to tell them no, I'm not going to permit you to explore my home.

You're going to need to come back with a warrant.  There's nothing wrong with that.  One big way to get of having to get a search warrant for a home or a vehicle or to be able to search you is if you give them consent.  Consent is the police's best friend.  Anybody who agrees to let them search for anything will be tough out of luck.

I never understand why people are driving in a car and tell the police it's okay to search it when they know they have something in there that they shouldn't — drugs, a gun, whatever the case may be.  You don't have to cooperate with the police.

But if they have a search warrant to your home, you might as well cooperate with the police because it makes it look like you have something to hide or that you have guilty knowledge that something is in your house if you start arguing with them and they're going to get to search the house anyway.  If they have a valid search warrant, then they can come in, and you're not going to be able to stop them. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will review further below.

Don't Consent to Search of Your Home.

Even if the search warrant is invalid, in other words, it was illegally obtained, they're still going to be able to get in and search the house.  Your attorney will be able to challenge the search later.

What To Do If Police Want To Search My Home

Remember, never consent to a search of your home, your car, your effects, your person, and never sign anything saying that it's okay for them to search your home or anywhere.  Your home is your castle.

You have a Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures based on things in your home, so make sure that you do not cooperate with the police when searching your home unless they've got a valid warrant. You can ask to see the warrant and make sure it's valid.

Make sure that it's the police executing the warrant, and the bottom line is that you will be in a good position to argue against them searching your home if they don't have a valid search warrant.

Police Must Have Probable Cause to Obtain Warrant

To get a valid search warrant to search a home anywhere in the San Fernando Valley, the police need a Judge to sign off on it.  To do that, they have to have probable cause that there is something criminal in the house.

In other words, just because they don't like the person or think the person is up to no good, that's not enough to get a search warrant.  They've got to show something that makes it likely that they're going to find something illegal in the home.

So, a lot of times, they need to conduct surveillance to get that.  They're going to need to watch the home.  They're going to need to get testimony or evidence from people who have been inside the house to see that there is illegal paraphernalia in there, or they're going to need some other information or evidence to corroborate that inside that home they're going to be able to find some sort of evidence of a crime.

Also, you have the issue of staleness and what I mean by that is you can't go in on October 1st and get a search warrant to search a home, and then you wait until January 1st of the following year to search that home.  That warrant is going to be stale.  There's no evidence that there will still be that paraphernalia there.  You have to execute the warrant within a reasonable amount of time.

Also, if they want to serve the search warrant at night in the wee hours of the night, kick the door open, which they often do, they're going to have to get special permission from the Judge to do that.  If they don't get that special permission, there may be an issue with the service of that search warrant.

Good Faith Exception

There are all sorts of different rules.  Believe it or not, most of the regulations are slanted towards the police when searching people's homes.  Here's what's called a good-faith exception.

In other words, even if the warrant is no good and the magistrate or judge should have never issued the subpoena in the first place, if the police, in good faith, believe that the warrant was good, they may be able to get around any type of activity that is unreasonable.

Suppose they lie or say something illegal or give wrong information about a warrant. In that case, that may be a way to traverse the warrant, which means looking behind the warrant and showing that the police are not legitimate and have not given legitimate information.

If you have any questions about search warrants in the San Fernando Valley involving courts in Van Nuys, Chatsworth, San Fernando, Glendale, Burbank — any of the courts in the San Fernando Valley — pick up the phone.  Call me.  I've been doing this for twenty-five years.  I know all of the ins and outs of search warrants.