In Indiana, do the police need a search warrant before they can conduct a search?
No. There are a number of different ways police can lawfully conduct a search without a warrant. One of the biggest ways to avoid having the police get a warrant is consent. People can waive their rights, and they commonly do. Oftentimes, the police will try to get consent. If you consent, then you waive a challenge. However, an attorney can challenge the lawfulness of that consent later in court.
There are exceptions to a search warrant. A vehicle is a common place where the law is established that if police officers find certain things, they can search that vehicle without having to go get a warrant first. I hate to throw situations out because I don’t want someone on the side of the road trying to fight with the police about whether or not they can get in their car. These kinds of legal battles are for the courtroom.
~ Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer, Kassi Rigney
Yeah. What Kassi’s describing is called the “automobile exception” to the warrant. There are a lot of different exceptions to it that have developed mostly from case law. There are also situations where they don’t have to get a warrant just because the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to it. For example, things that don’t have a reasonable interest and privacy rights over. For example, if they decide to search someone else’s house because they think that there’s evidence that will tend to prove a crime was committed. Others don’t have an expectation of privacy in someone else’s house. So they can use whatever they find even if they didn’t get a search warrant.
There’s also a search incident to arrest. Whenever the police are arresting you for something, they have the right to search your person to make sure you don’t have weapons or other contraband that you’re gonna sneak into the jail. There are several other exceptions. They don’t always have to get a warrant.
~ Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer, Jacob Rigney