Police in Michigan have a job to do which is to enforce the laws of the state. Part of this job includes needing to investigate various crimes and try to determine who is at fault. There are certain rules that they must follow while they are investigating though. One of the most important laws that they must follow is that they need to respect people’s Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches of their person and property.
What this means is that police, for the most part, cannot just go into people’s homes without a search warrant signed by a judge. However, there are some exceptions to that rule in certain situations.
Exceptions to laws requiring the police to have a search warrant
In the following situations, police do not need a warrant to search property:
- If people at the home consent to the search and allow the police to enter
- When responding to community emergencies such as medical emergencies
- Exigent circumstances, which are extraordinary situations when they do not have time to obtain a warrant in order to preserve the evidence they are seeking
- They do not need a warrant to search anything that is in plain view and does not require additional searches to see
- If they are in current pursuit of people they know committed a crime
- They can also search places if the search is incident to a valid arrest warrant or to inventory property on people when they are arrested
- They can also conduct brief searches of people’s person if they suspect they committed a crime or to ensure they do not have any weapons
Police in Michigan conduct searches as part of investigations every day. If the police conduct illegal searches as part of these investigations, any evidence that they find as a result of the search could be suppressed. This means that the police cannot use the evidence as they try to convict people of the crimes they are charged with committing. Without the evidence, many times convictions become very unlikely. Experienced attorneys understand people’s rights and may be able to protect them.