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Can police search me if the warrant isn’t about me?

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2024 | General Blogs

Some people in Minnesota get arrested simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. An individual visiting a friend or family member could be there when police officers arrive to serve a search warrant. They may then find themselves unable to leave when they want and facing scrutiny from law enforcement professionals.

It is the natural tendency of those interacting with police officers and others in a position of authority to try to cooperate to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, people may submit to unnecessary and inappropriate searches that put them at risk of criminal prosecution.

Does someone have to agree to a search when the police have a warrant but they aren’t the subject of the warrant at issue?

Warrants have limitations for a reason

The whole purpose of search warrant requirements is to protect people from overreaches by law enforcement professionals. Police officers need to have probable cause that is strong enough to convince a judge that a search is necessary.

Under Minnesota state statutes, warrants generally need to include specific details. The name of the person or the location of the property subject to the search are among the details that a warrant should include. Simply being at a location subject to a search or with someone facing a warrant-based search does not force someone to submit to a search.

What if officers search anyway?

In a scenario where police officers search someone without their consent due to a warrant in the name of another person, the search may be a violation of that individual’s rights. It is possible to ask the criminal courts to set aside evidence acquired through the violation of someone’s rights.

If police officers search someone who is not named on the warrant, the evidence they find may not be admissible in court. It is sometimes possible to have a defense attorney fight the inclusion of that evidence in a criminal trial.

Those who know their rights are in a better position to handle pressure from police officers during a warranted search. They may also be able to recognize when a violation of their rights could play a role in their criminal defense strategy.