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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  Attorney
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I own a small retail business in Los Angeles. I lease the

Customer Question

I own a small retail business in Los Angeles. I lease the property. I do not own the property. Do the police need a warrant to enter and search my establishment?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Police do not need a warrant to go anywhere that members of the public are allowed to go. So, for example, if I have a pizza place, police can come in, stand at the counter, eat in the dining room, and use the restroom. They wouldn't be allowed to enter the storage areas or kitchen without a warrant. While in areas of the establishment open to the general public, officers can seize any contraband in plain view, and they can use what they see as facts to support a search warrant. But they can't just walk in and search at will without one. The owner of leased premises also cannot authorize a search of areas that aren't open to the public, because you're renting the right to use the place - which includes the right to exclude people if you want.

Note that a health inspector or other state official would not need a warrant to do administrative searches in order to do jobs associated with business regulation. I'm only talking about police officers looking for evidence of a crime. And a manager or owner could consent to a search of the premises.

It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.

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