Can police search someone coming out of a homeif they only have a search warrant for the residence?

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2012

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Can police search someone coming out of a homeif they only have a search warrant for the residence?

Police intercepted a package of drugs in the mail and obtained a search warrant for the home. The drugs were delivered but sat on the porch without being picked up. Someone left the home and was stopped by police who asked for permission to search their backpack. They refused and police said the warrant covered someone coming out of the home and found a pipe with residue. Was this an illegal search?

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Criminal Law, Virginia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If there is a validly signed and issued search warrant for a residence where the inside of the residence is to be searched, any person leaving the residence is also subject to search and seizure for the simple fact that the person who is leaving the residence could be carrying on his or her pseron items subject to be seized under the search warrant.

From what you have written, the search of the person leaving the home subject to the search warrant was legal and the contraband found should not be held to be inadmissible as a result of an illegal search and seizure. I suggest that the person who was stopped and presumably arrested should consult with a criminal defense attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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