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Does a warrant mean the police can search your entire home? 

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

The Fourth Amendment offers protection from an illegal search. This is why the police will often ask for your consent, but, if not given that consent to search your home, they can get a warrant. Under the amendment, this warrant can allow the police to search the home even without your permission.

What you might be wondering, however, is if there are any limitations. If an officer does produce a valid warrant, does that mean they can just come into your home and look wherever they want? What are they allowed to do?

What is the scope of the warrant?

Thankfully, the Fourth Amendment itself does address this. It says that warrants can be used as long as they focus on “particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

So it depends entirely on what that warrant says about where the police are allowed to conduct their search. If the warrant says that they can look in the entire home for the objects that they’re seeking, then they’re allowed to do so. But if they actually got a warrant to search your garage or nearby buildings, then they can’t also search your home. They have to respect the scope of that warrant.

You’ll note that the warrant is also supposed to specify what the police are looking for or who they’re seeking to arrest. That doesn’t mean they can’t find other evidence in plain view or something of this nature, but they have to carry out the warrant properly in regard to these limitations.

If you have been involved in an arrest, it’s important to understand all of your criminal defense options and your legal rights.