Limitations Of Police Authority: What The Police Cannot Do


The police are usually thought of as all-powerful, especially when it comes to criminal issues, but this is not the case. Here are some things the police cannot do:

Search for Evidence without a Warrant          

The police are generally required to get a search warrant from a judge before entering your house to look for evidence. A judge will only issue a search warrant if they are convinced that there is probable cause for the search. This means the police must have suspected you of a crime first before petitioning the judge for a warrant.

While the geographical location of the search will be restricted to the description of the warrant, the police will not be restricted as to the kind of evidence they can gather. For example, if the police have a search warrant to look for drugs in your main house, they cannot extend the search to a detached garage, but they can collect other kinds of evidence (even those unrelated to drugs) from the main house.

Note that there are exceptional situations in which the police can search your property without a warrant. For example, the police don't need a warrant if the evidence is in plain view or if they believe waiting for a warrant would endanger the police.

Use Evidence from an Illegal Search to Look For Other Evidence

If the police do perform a search without a warrant, any evidence they get will be considered illegally obtained, and they will not be allowed to use the evidence against you in court. In fact, the police will also not be allowed to use the evidence as a basis for obtaining a warrant to look for further evidence. For example, if the police entered your house without a warrant and managed to get drug paraphernalia, they cannot use the paraphernalia to seek for a warrant to look for actual drugs.

Stop and Frisk You without Reasonable Suspicion

Lastly, the police are also not allowed to stop and search you in the street just because they are the police; they must have probable cause first. Probable cause refers to facts and circumstances that would lead any reasonable person to suspect you of a crime.

For example, if the police are looking for a middle-aged male wearing a grey coat, and you fit that description, then it is perfectly legal for them to stop and search you even if you are not the person and you haven't committed any crime. However, those facts wouldn't provide probable cause for the police to stop you if you are a teenage girl wearing a dress; it would be illegal for the police to stop and frisk you based on that information.

If you think the police have exceeded their authority in handling your case, inform your lawyer about the infringements. The lawyer will know how to use the information in your defense. Check out a website like for more information and assistance. 


15 November 2017

Understanding General Attorney Services

Hi there, my name is John Michaels. Welcome to my website about general attorney services. When I was wrapped up in a neighborhood dispute, I decided to consult with a general attorney to receive guidance and support. The attorney helped me understand how to best proceed with the dispute to achieve a mutually-acceptable resolution. Through this experience, I was inspired to share information about the services provided by general attorneys. I invite you to visit my site daily to learn about these important service offerings and their role in your dispute resolution activities. Thank you for coming to visit my site.