In the vast bulk of cases, police in California require a valid find warrant to search her residence (house, apartment, mobile home, etc.).1

But there are several significant exceptions come this rule. Police might search your residence without a warrant when any type of of the following is true:

You (or someone else with authority over the premises) have offered your consent to a search of your home;2There is unavoidable danger to life or a hazard of serious damage to property;3 orThe find takes location in connection with a lawful arrest—and is excellent either for the objective of protecting the safety and security of the arresting officers, or because that the objective of safeguarding evidence around the arrest offense that someone can otherwise have the ability to destroy.4

California’s search and seizure regulations as used to houses and other residences have actually their origin in


To find your home, police have to either have actually a warrant or fall within one of several exceptions to the warrant requirement.

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Remedies because that an unconstitutional search of a residence


the police find your residence or any section of it unlawfully, andyou room charged through a crime based upon evidence found in the search,

then you and also your California criminal defense attorney have the right to ask the court come exclude this evidence in her case.

This is generally done with a Penal code 1538.5 PC activity to suppress evidence, which is critical kind that California pretrial motion.9

In stimulate to help you much better understand as soon as police deserve to legally find your house/residence in California, our California criminal defense attorneys will attend to the following:

1. When have the right to Police search my house in California? 1.1. California find warrants for residential searches 1.2. Consent come a search of a residence 1.3. “Exigent circumstances” 1.4. Searches the a residence incident to a lawful arrest2. What are My legal rights if Police search My house Illegally?

If, after analysis this article, you would like much more information, we invite girlfriend to call us in ~ Shouse law Group.

1. When have the right to Police search my house in California?

California police have the right to legally find your residence in one of the following situations:

When lock have derived a valid search warrant from a California or federal judge;When someone v authority execute so has consented come a search of the home;10When the police are conscious of an emergency justifying an instant search (i.e., brewing danger come life or property);11 orIn connection with a lawful arrest, in minimal circumstances and also for limited purposes.12

According to long Beach criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse13:

“Courts have long recognized that civilization have a certain right that privacy in the most necessary place in your lives—their homes. Together a result, police might not search houses, apartments, or various other residences without either a precious warrant or a compelling justification. And also it’s essential that the border of any type of search that a residence be limited to that explained in the warrant, or supported by another justification.”

1.1. California search warrants for residential searches

The vast majority of searches that houses, apartments, etc., room valid since the police have derived a find warrant to search the property. (The very same is true of, because that example, police searches of cell phones and also police searches of computer system hard drives.)


Police may search your home without a warrant with your consent.

Authority to consent

First that all, consent to a search of a home must come from someone who has the authority to offer it.20

The person giving the consent go not need to be the human being who is eventually charged with a crime. It have the right to be everyone who has the appropriate to use/enter the property themselves.21

Example: wilhelm is a suspect in a financial institution robbery. The police arrest the under a valid arrest warrant on the front lawn of the home where he is living.

The police then technique Carrie, who is additionally at the house. She and William room living with each other in a bedroom in the house, i beg your pardon they rental from the owner. The police asking Carrie if they might search the bedroom she shares with William, and she claims yes.

In the bedroom, the police uncover a big amount the cash that they use as evidence in William’s trial for robbery.

Carrie’s consent to be valid since she was one of the inhabitants of the room. Therefore, also though there to be no search warrant and also William didn’t consent come the find of his room, the money might be admitted right into evidence.22

In fact, consent come a find of a home deserve to be valid also if it transforms out the person giving it didn’t have actually authority to consent—as long as the police reasonably believed that s/he had actually such authority. This is what is referred to as “apparent authority” come consent.23


Police might not intimidate or coerce you right into agreeing come a search of her home.

And it also way that you will certainly not be considered to have actually consented to a police search of your home if, because that example,

law enforcement officers command girlfriend to open your door—and girlfriend comply,28 orpolice tell friend they have a warrant to search your home—and that later turns out to be false.29

Consent might be withdrawn

Even if you initially provide your consent to a police find of your home without a warrant, girlfriend may adjust your mind and withdraw that consent at any kind of time.30

If you do so, any kind of further search of your residence will certainly be invalid.31

Example: Eli is remaining at Melissa’s apartment. Local police find out that there is an arrest warrant for him superior in one more city. They walk to Melissa’s apartment without a find warrant.

When Melissa answers the door, the policemans ask if they deserve to search the apartment, and she allows them in. But when among them walks towards a bedroom through a partially open door, Melissa rushes come close the door and tries to block him from entering.

He pushes she aside and also enters the bedroom anyway. Over there he find Eli, who is in possession the a big amount the heroin. Eli is arrested and also charged with 11351 HS medicine possession for sale.

But the evidence against Eli is thrown out, since the find of the bedroom in Melissa’s apartment to be unconstitutional. Melissa plainly intended to retract her consent to the search of she apartment by blocking the officer native entering the bedroom.32

1.3. “Exigent circumstances”

Under the “exigent circumstances” exception to the ascendancy that police need a warrant to search your home, police might conduct a warrantless find if the is vital to protect against either

someone’s physical injury or death, orserious damages to property.33

In various other words, police might enter—and probably search—your home without a warrant or your consent if over there is a real “emergency threatening life or limb.”34


Police sometimes discover evidence of methamphetamine manufacture as soon as they find homes.

Example: Neighbors call police around a foul chemical odor create from a house. When policemans arrive at the house and also knock top top the door, a young child answers and also says that she is house alone. (Children execute not have actually authority come consent come a police find of a home.35)

The police smell the strong odor and also are concerned about the child’s safety. For this reason they enter the residence to confirm that no one else is home and to investigate the resource of the odor. When inside, they find a methamphetamine lab.

The lab will more than likely be admissible together criminal evidence also though the police lacked a warrant or valid consent to search the house—because they gone into the house to prevent injury to the child.

The emergency need to be genuine, though. The police must understand of specific facts the reasonably lead to the conclusion the an emergency exists—and may not produce an emergency as a pretext because that a warrantless find for evidence.36

Some instances of emergencies that might justify warrantless searches that private dwellings are:

A report the the residents of the home is missing;39 andA reasonable id that young kids or babies are unattended in the house.401.4. Searches the a residence occurrence to a lawful arrest

Law enforcement officers also may command a minimal search of your residence if you space lawfully under arrest.41

However, the border of a find of a house incident to arrest is an extremely limited. Together a search may only be lugged out for the adhering to purposes:

Locating and also removing any type of weapons the the arrestee might use come escape or attack the arresting officers; andLocating and also seizing any kind of evidence pertaining come the violation of the arrest the the arrestee (or who else) can otherwise be able to destroy.42

Example: Police involved Raul’s home to arrest him on number of California misdemeanor charges. As one officer is putting Raul in the patrol car, an additional officer enters the house.

That officer looks roughly the room where Raul to be arrested. The sees a sweatshirt top top the chair, choose it up, and finds a handgun underneath it.

The handgun should be excluded native evidence because the search of Raul’s residence that uncovered it was illegal.

While the was it s okay for the officer to check and also make sure there was no one in the home who might destroy evidence, he had actually no ideal to find Raul’s personal belongings—since Raul was in the patrol car and also could not accessibility any weapons or proof that to be still in his house.43

2. What room My civil liberties if Police find My house Illegally ?

If you space accused the a California crime after an unconstitutional search of your house, climate you have the best to challenge any proof that come from that illegal search.

And if that proof is vital to the prosecution’s case versus you, then you may have the ability to get the charges versus you reduced—or even dismissed altogether.

Your first move if you are the victim of one unlawful residence find will probably be to file a Penal password 1538.5 motion to suppress evidence.44

A 1538.5 PC activity to suppress is a inquiry to the judge to litter out any type of evidence that was either:

Obtained through an unreasonable search and also seizure excellent without a warrant, orObtained v a search that to be done through a warrant—but wherein the warrant was deficient, or the find was lugged out in one unconstitutional way.45

For legitimate representation…

For questions around when police may search your home in California, or to discuss your instance confidentially with one of our California criminal defense attorneys, do not hesitate to call us in ~ Shouse regulation Group.

We have local criminal law offices in and around Los Angeles, mountain Diego, Orange County, Riverside, san Bernardino, Ventura, san Jose, Oakland, the mountain Francisco just area, and several adjacent cities.

For much more information on Nevada laws on search warrants for homes, please view our page on Nevada law on find warrants.

Legal References:

1 human being v. Ray (1999) 21 Cal.4th 464, 467-68. (“When performing their regulation enforcement responsibilities, officers are forced under the fourth Amendment to achieve a warrant before searching a home or seizing personal effects; FN1 or it should be established they acted pursuant come a known exception.”)

2 Schneckloth v. Bustamonte (1973) 412 U.S. 218, 219. (“It is same well worked out that among the specifically developed exceptions to the needs of both a warrant and also probable cause is a find the is conducted pursuant come consent.”)

3 human being v. Ray, endnote 1, above, in ~ 472. (“This justification requires specific, articulable facts indicating the need for ‘swift activity to prevent unavoidable danger come life or serious damages to home . . . .’”)

4 civilization v. Leal (2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 1051, 1064. (“‘That limitation, which continues to define the boundaries of the exception, ensures the the limit of a find occurrence to arrest is commensurate through its objectives of protecting arresting officers and safeguarding any type of evidence of the offense of arrest that an arrestee can conceal or destroy…. If over there is no opportunity that an arrestee might reach right into the area that law enforcement officers seek to search, both justifications because that the search-incident-to-arrest exemption are missing and the dominance does no apply.” (Arizona v. Gant, supra, 556 U.S. In ~ p. ––––, 129 S.Ct. In ~ p. 1716.)”)

5 U.S. Const., amend. IV . (“The best of the civilization to be secure in your persons, houses, papers, and also effects, against unreasonable searches and also seizures, shall not be violated, and also no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the location to it is in searched, and the people or points to be seized.”)

6 Cal. Const., Art. I, Sec. 13 . (“The best of the world to be secure in your persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable seizures and searches might not be violated; and a warrant might not issue except top top probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, an especially describing the location to be searched and also the persons and things to it is in seized.”)

7 view endnotes 5 and also 6, above.

8 Penal password 1538.5 pc – activity to . . . Suppress evidence. (“(a)(1) A defendant might move for the return of residential property or come suppress together evidence any kind of tangible or intangible thing obtained as a an outcome of a find or seizure on one of two people of the complying with grounds: (A) The search or seizure there is no a warrant to be unreasonable. (B) The find or seizure with a warrant to be unreasonable because any type of of the adhering to apply: (i) The warrant is insufficient on its face. (ii) The property or evidence acquired is not that defined in the warrant. (iii) there was not probable reason for the issuance the the warrant. (iv) The an approach of execution the the warrant violated federal or state constitution standards. (v) over there was any other violation of commonwealth or state constitution standards.”)

9 check out same.

10 Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, endnote 2, above.

11 human being v. Ray, endnote 3, above.

12 people v. Leal, endnote 4, above.

13 Our lengthy Beach criminal defense lawyers are expert in criminal pretrial motions, consisting of motions come exclude proof from illegal searches and also seizures.

14 Penal password 1523 pc – definition . (“A search warrant is an order in writing, in the surname of the people, signed by a magistrate, command to a peace officer, commanding that or her to search for a human or persons, a point or things, or personal property, and, in the instance of a thing or things or an individual property, bring the same before the magistrate.”)

15 Penal code 1524 pc – Issuance . (“(a) A search warrant might be issued upon any of the adhering to grounds: . . . (4) once the property or things to be seized consist of of any kind of item or constitute any evidence that tends to present a felony has been committed, or tends to display that a specific person has actually committed a felony.”)

16 Penal password 1525 computer – Issuance; probable cause; sustaining affidavits; contents of application. (“A find warrant can not be issued yet upon probable cause, sustained by affidavit, specify name or explicate the human being to it is in searched or searched for, and particularly describing the property, thing, or things and the place to it is in searched.”)

17 check out same.

18 Penal password 1538.5 computer – motion to . . . Suppress evidence, endnote 8, above.

19 Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, endnote 2, above.

20 See, e.g., United claims v. Reid (9th Cir. 2000) 226 F.3d 1020, 1025.

21 United states v. Matlock (1974) 415 U.S. 164, 171. (“These instances at the very least make clean that when the prosecution looks for to justify a warrantless find by evidence of voluntarily consent, it is not restricted to proof the consent was offered by the defendant, however may show that permission to search was acquired from a third party who possessed typical authority end or other enough relationship to the premises or results sought to it is in inspected.”)

22 based on the truth of the same.

23 view United claims v. Reid, endnote 20, above.

24 Georgia v. Randolph (2006) 547 U.S. 103, 106. (“The 4th Amendment establish a precious warrantless entry and search of premises when police acquire the voluntary consent of an occupant that shares, or is reasonably thought to share, authority over the area in typical with a co-occupant who later objects to the use of evidence so obtained. Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177, 110 S.Ct. 2793, 111 L.Ed.2d 148 (1990); United says v. Matlock, 415 U.S. 164, 94 S.Ct. 988, 39 L.Ed.2d 242 (1974). The question below is whether together an evidentiary seizure is likewise lawful with the permission the one occupant when the other, who later on seeks come suppress the evidence, is current at the scene and expressly refuses come consent. We host that, in the circumstances below at issue, a physically present co-occupant’s stated refusal to allow entry prevails, rendering the warrantless find unreasonable and also invalid as to him.”)

25 human being v. Exceptional Court (Arketa) (1970) 10 Cal.App.3d 122, 127. (“The authority to search pursuant come a consent should be restricted to the limit of the consent.”)

26 Bumper v. Phibìc Carolina (1968) 391 U.S. 543, 548-49. (“When a prosecutor looks for to rely upon consent to justify the lawfulness the a search , he has actually the load of proving that the consent was, in fact, freely and also voluntarily given. This burden cannot be discharged by showing no more than acquiescence come a case of lawful authority.”)

27 See civilization v. McKelvy (1972) 23 Cal.App.3d 1027, 1034.

28 people v. Sheet (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 1004, 1012-13.

29 see Bumper v. Phibìc Carolina, endnote 26, above, at 548. (“The issue thus gift is even if it is a search can be justified together lawful ~ above the communication of consent as soon as that ‘consent’ has been provided only ~ the official conducting the search has asserted the he possesses a warrant. FN11 We host that there can be no consent under together circumstances.”)

30 human being v. Hamilton (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 1058, 1068. (“Evidence procured after tap the money of consent correctly is suppressed.”)

31 view same.

32 based on the truth of the same.

33 people v. Ray, endnote 3, above.

34 Mincey v. Arizona (1978) 437 U.S. 385, 394.

35 civilization v. Jacobs (1987) 43 Cal.3d 472, 481.

36 people v. Ray, endnote 1, above, in ~ 477. (“The entry can not be make on the pretext to find for contraband or illegal task rather than to look because that suspects and to maintain an occupant’s property.”)

37 see same.

38 world v. Higgins (1994) 26 Cal.App.4th 247.

39 world v. Ammons (1980) 103 Cal.App.3d 20.

40 In re Dawn O. (1976) 58 Cal.App.3d 160.

41 See, e.g., people v. Leal, endnote 4, above.

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42 check out same.

See likewise Chimel v. California (1969) 395 U.S. 752, 762-63 (partially overruled through Arizona v. Gant (2009) 556 U.S. 332). (“A similar analysis underlies the ‘search occurrence to arrest’ principle, and marks its proper extent. When an arrest is made, that is reasonable for the arresting officer to find the human being arrested in order to remove any type of weapons that the latter might seek to use in order to stand up to arrest or impact his escape. Otherwise, the officer’s safety could well be endangered, and the arrest chin frustrated. In addition, the is entirely reasonable because that the arresting officer to search for and also seize any evidence on the arrestee’s person in order to protect against its concealment or destruction. And also the area right into which an arrestee can reach in order come grab a weapon or evidentiary item must, of course, it is in governed through a choose rule. A pistol on a table or in a drawer in former of one who is arrested deserve to be as dangerous come the arresting officer as one covert in the clothes of the human being arrested. Over there is ample justification, therefore, for a find of the arrestee’s person and also the area ‘within his instant control’ —construing that phrase to average the area from within which he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.”)