Do the police need a warrant to enter a house

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do the police need a warrant to enter a house

A person was running from the police. The person
ran into his house. The police claim to the wife that
they heard him in the house and saw him through
the window when they came to the door. They said
to have him come out or they would have to go in
and get him. He refused to come out. They told the
wife that if they don’t let her in she is harboring a
fugitive. They said they did not need a warrant. Is
that true?

Asked on April 10, 2017 under Criminal Law, Oklahoma


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, the police need a search warrant before they can enter and search your home. That having been said, there are 4 exceptions to this rule: 1. Consent - if the person who is in control of the property allows the search without being forced or tricked into doing so; 2. Plain View - if the police already have the right to be on your property and contraband/evidence of a crime is clearly visible, then it may be lawfully seized and used as evidence; 3. Search Incident to Arrest - if you are being arrested in your house, the police may search for weapons/other accomplices to protect their safety and/or they may search to prevent the destruction of evidence; 4. Exigent Circumstances - This refers to emergency situations getting a valid search warrant could compromise public safety or could lead to a loss of evidence (this encompasses "hot pursuit" in which a suspect is about to escape).

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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