What are police allowed and not allowed to do during a drug arrest?

When officials search your place of residence for drugs or paraphernalia, there are several procedures and guidelines they must follow no matter what. 

Lawful searches and seizures should not violate your Fourth Amendment rights. 

Unallowable actions 

According to FindLaw, a reasonable search means there is sufficient reason to think that drugs are on the premises. This high likelihood is the definition of the term probable cause. 

Once the officers have a search warrant, they can officially enter your home. However, they cannot illegally obtain information or proof, such as searching your car without reason. Typically, this falls under the exclusionary rule, which states that evidence obtained from invasive searches is not legal to use in court. In addition, they cannot search your body in a stop and frisk situation, unless there is a high likelihood that you have a weapon on you. 

Allowable actions 

Reasonable searches in someone’s home are allowable. An item in plain view, such as a bag of cocaine sitting out in the open, is subject to get used as evidence. In addition, officials may look for other additional accomplices in the household before continuing with a search. This is a common procedure called a protective sweep. 

Additional circumstances 

You must give consent to have your possessions searched. Law enforcement cannot look beyond the rooms you have allowed them access to. As a citizen, you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, which means some types of searches are off limits. 

In addition, there are circumstances where officials can enter without a warrant. For example, if there are gunshots heard in a place, these exigent circumstances are pressing enough that they do not wait for clearance from a judge. However, these are not as common as warranted searches.