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Oklahoma drug charges: Warranted and warrantless searches

Undeniably, police officers have a great deal of authority when it comes to protecting and serving Norman, Oklahoma, residents. As American citizens, most people appreciate the hard work these officials perform every day. However, just because they are tasked with enforcing the law does not mean they have complete freedom to do as they please.

Like every other citizen in the nation, police officers must comply with the law as they go about their work. For example, they must follow certain protocols when investigating potential drug crimes. To put it in simple terms, they cannot make a legal arrest on drug charges if they broke the law to take a person into custody. Below you will find basic information about how the police must handle searches.

Warranted searches

When the authorities suspect a person is engaging in illegal drug activities, they must petition a judge to issue a search warrant. This gives the officer authority to conduct a legal search. However, it is important to read the warrant, as it will specify which areas the police are allowed to search. If they search an area not specified in the warrant, your drug charges may not stick.

Warrantless searches

Unless the police have reason to believe a crime is underway, they are not allowed to search your home, your vehicle or any other personal property. Defendants that can prove officers did not have a reason to search their property can often escape drug charges. Most defendants choose to work with an attorney to prove the search was not legal.

As you might expect, there are certain situations in which the police have authority to search your property without a warrant. These include defendant consent, illegal items in plain view, you have already been arrested and in certain emergency scenarios.