When a Search Warrant is and is not Needed

There are many times the police would need a search warrant to go through a person’s belongings or property, but there are also times where a search and seizure warrant is not needed. This includes:

• The individual voluntarily consents to a search.
• Inspection searches, like border patrol.
• Illegal and incriminating items and contraband are in plain view.
• “Stop and frisk” situations where the police officer temporarily detains a person to search for weapons.
• Emergency situations where the search and seizure is necessary at that moment to prevent a crime from happening.
• Searches incident to a lawful arrest.
• When the police have probable cause a vehicle contains evidence of a crime.

When the police do need a warrant, they obtain this from a judge...