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Do Police Need a Warrant to Conduct a Search in Connecticut?

You have a general right to privacy. You should not have to worry about police officers searching your person or your property without probable cause to do so. Constitutional protections hold that law enforcement officers usually need to get a warrant from a judge before conducting a search—but there are some exceptions. In this article, our Glastonbury criminal defense attorney provides a guide to warrants, searches, and your legal rights in Connecticut. 

Fourth Amendment: Protection Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states that people are protected against  “unreasonable searches and seizures.” In general, police officers in Connecticut and other states are required to obtain a judicial warrant to conduct a search of a defendant or their belongings. Law enforcement officers have a responsibility to respect and uphold the rights of the people. When they fail to do so, the evidence that they obtain may not be allowed into court. 

Exceptions: Warrantless Searches Are Lawful in Limited Circumstances

While police officers typically need a warrant to conduct a search in Connecticut, there are some exceptions. A warrantless search/seizure may be lawful. Here are three specific circumstances in which a police officer may be permitted to conduct a search without a judicial warrant: 

  1. Consent: Police officers in Connecticut do not need a warrant to conduct a search if they get consent. You are not required to consent to a search of your person, vehicle, or home. That you declined to consent to a search cannot be used in court as evidence of criminal conduct. 
  2. Plain View: When evidence of criminal activity is in plain view of an officer, they do not need a warrant to conduct a search. A Connecticut law enforcement officer can take immediate action to seize contraband in plain view. 
  3. Exigent Circumstances (Emergency): Finally, there are a limited number of emergency situations that could justify a warrantless search and/or seizure by police. This is known as the exigent circumstances doctrine. 

A Connecticut Defense Attorney Can Protect You Against an Illegal Search

You may be wondering: What are my options if I was the victim of an illegal search and seizure in Connecticut? An experienced Glastonbury, CT criminal defense lawyer can help you take action to get justice. Evidence that was obtained through an illegal search may not be admissible in a state or federal court. Your criminal defense lawyer can help you file a Motion to Suppress to keep illegally seized evidence out of your case. Without the illegal evidence, prosecutors may struggle to meet their burden—they may even end up dropping the charges. 

Call Our Glastonbury, CT Criminal Defense Lawyer Today  

At Tehrani Law Group, LLC, our Connecticut criminal defense attorney is an aggressive, approachable advocate for clients. If you or your loved one was subject to an illegal search, we will protect your rights. Contact our law firm today for a completely private evaluation of your criminal case. With a law office in Glastonbury, we provide criminal defense representation throughout the region, including in Hartford, East Hartford, Manchester, Marlborough, and Middletown.