Can Police Search My House Without a Warrant?


A search warrant is a legal document that is signed by a judge that allows police officers to search a location and take hold of materials that can be used as evidence to a crime. There are limits to search warrants – officers are allowed to search only the area explicitly specified in the warrant and cannot seize materials that are not outlined in the warrant. There are times, however, when officers can search your home without a warrant.


A search warrant is not required if the individual in charge of the residence and property agrees to the search without being coerced or manipulated into doing so. Although police will sometimes fail to tell you can refuse the search, it’s important to remember that you have the right to do so. If you consent to the search without a warrant, police are limited to search only what was agreed to – if you tell the police they can search the living room and kitchen area, they cannot go searching in any private bedrooms.

Plain View

If a police officer, who already has permission to be on your property, can see criminal contraband in plain view, he or she can search your home without a warrant. For example, if the police come to your house responding to a domestic violence call and can see marijuana plants growing by the window, the officer can take the plants and use them as evidence.

In Connection With an Arrest

If you’re being arrested for a crime inside your home, police officers can do what’s referred to as a “protective sweep” – a search for weapons or other individuals who may be accomplices to the crime. There are limits to this exception: the police can only look in places where a person could be hiding and the sweep must be done quickly. It cannot take longer than the time it takes to arrest someone and leave the property.

If you’ve been arrested for a crime or are being investigated for one, you should not hesitate to contact a skilled and experienced Denver criminal defense attorney. At the Law Office of Joseph A. Lazzara, P.C., I will work tirelessly to provide serious legal counsel when you need it the most. Call my law firm today at (720) 809-8262 to start building your defense.