Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
When Are Warrantless Searches Legal In Indiana? Contact Us
Indianapolis Criminal & OWI Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Defense > When Are Warrantless Searches Legal In Indiana?

When Are Warrantless Searches Legal In Indiana?


The United States’ and Indiana’s constitutions prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures. According to the law, police officers are required to obtain a search warrant before they can be allowed to conduct a search. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. There are instances when a police officer may be allowed to conduct a search without a warrant, as long as the officer is in a place where they are lawfully entitled to be and have probable cause that evidence of a crime will be found in the location. Below is a look at some of these situations:

When Evidence Is in Plain View

“Plain view” means contraband viewed without any type of search being conducted. The law says that when a person leaves an object in “plain view”, they do not have an expectation of privacy in the location to be searched. However, the plain view doctrine assumes that the officer is already lawfully in the space to be searched.

Vehicle inventory

If a motor vehicle is impounded, a police officer can conduct an inventory of the things in the vehicle without the need to obtain a warrant. In such a situation, an officer can search for things found in an accessible container.

After an Arrest

After a person is arrested for a crime, the police may search the person’s body without a warrant.  An officer’s warrantless search may extend to the area under the immediate control of the arrested individual, or their “wingspan.”

Exigent Circumstances

Another time a warrantless search is legal is when a situation that requires a police officer to act immediately arises. For instance, a warrantless search is legal if an officer believes that they or others present are at risk of serious harm or death. A warrantless search is also considered lawful when an officer conducts the search to prevent the destruction of evidence.

Consent Search

This is one of the main reasons police officers conduct warrantless searches. If an officer asks to conduct a search, remember you are under no legal obligation to consent. Also, an officer cannot force you or threaten you to gain consent. In fact, in Indiana, in court the State is required to prove that a person gave consent freely and voluntarily.

You should know your rights when interacting with the police. Understanding your rights when interacting with the police and what to look out for can help you in the event that you are charged with a crime. If the police conduct an illegal warrantless search and you end up getting charged with a crime, you can raise the illegal warrantless search as a defense. This could result in evidence being considered inadmissible. The exclusionary rule prohibits the use of most evidence gathered in violation of the Constitution.

Contact Rigney Law LLC Today

To get help with a criminal case, contact a skilled and dedicated Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer at Rigney Law LLC.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Contact Us
protected by reCAPTCHA Privacy - Terms