When Police Can Search Without a Warrant
If you give consent. If the police ask for your permission to conduct a search and you agree, then a warrant is not necessary to conduct a search. You should never agree to a warrantless search until you have spoken with your criminal defense attorney!
If you have been arrested. If you are placed under arrest, an officer may search your person or the immediate area for any weapons that may potentially be used to harm an officer or for evidence to use against you. This is known as a search incident to an arrest. If they have a reasonable suspicion that there is an accomplice to the crime in your home, they may also enter and perform a cursory search. Any evidence that is in plain view may be confiscated for use against you.
If evidence is in plain view. If an officer finds evidence in your car, home or other property that is in plain view, they do not need a warrant to seize the evidence or contraband.
The emergency exception. If the police have a reasonable and immediate fear for their own safety or for the safety of someone else, they may conduct a legal search without a warrant.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Arizona that involves the use of a search warrant and need a Phoenix criminal defense attorney, please feel free to contact me.