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Warrantless Searches and the Existence of Exigent Circumstances

Mount Holly Probable Cause Attorney

As a general rule, the police need a valid search warrant before conducting a search of your person or property. This is due to the Fourth Amendment Constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. But, as in most cases, there are exceptions to this rule. The police do not need to obtain a warrant when exigent circumstances are present. It is important to be aware of what circumstances may be considered exigent so that you’re not caught off guard and required to submit to a warrantless search. If you have questions about whether a search or seizure violated your Fourth Amendment rights, you should speak to a Mount Holly probable cause attorney immediately.

What Are Exigent Circumstances?

A police officer may perform a warrantless search when there is probable cause and no time to obtain a search warrant. To put it simply, exigent circumstances are found in “emergency situations.” Of course, determining when exigent circumstances actually exist and allow an officer to conduct a search without a warrant is often up for debate. A skilled Mount Holly probable cause attorney will be needed to review such circumstances. The following examples provide insight into when exigent circumstances may exist.

  1. The Safety of a Person is at Risk. When an officer has probable cause to believe that someone is in danger and needs immediate assistance, he would be permitted to conduct a warrantless search because those circumstances would be seen as exigent.
  2. A Suspect is Fleeing. If a suspect is believed to be armed or is attempting to flee the scene, exigent circumstances exist.
  3. Evidence May Be Destroyed. If an officer has probable cause that evidence is about to be destroyed or removed (e.g., flushing drugs down a toilet), he may go forward with a search prior to obtaining a warrant. Otherwise, such evidence would be gone by the time he came back with a warrant.

The existence of exigent circumstances is not always as clear. A good probable cause attorney in Mount Holly should review all the facts and circumstances of your case to see whether the police potentially created the exigency. Your attorney could also argue against the amount of probable cause the police had.

Contact A Mount Holly Probable Cause Attorney Today

If you’ve recently dealt with a warrantless search, contact a probable cause attorney in Mount Holly as soon as possible. Mark Catanzaro has been defending his clients’ criminal charges for nearly 30 years and is very knowledgeable on requirements for warrantless searches. Request a free consultation today!


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Mount Holly:

21 Grant St.
Mt. Holly, New Jersey


143 White Horse Avenue
Trenton, New Jersey