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Legal-Guru, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1366
Experience:  Experienced Criminal Trial Attorney since 1998.
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I had police come to my house when i was not present. I had

Customer Question

I had police come to my house when i was not present. I had someone there that was staying there but he has no proof of residence(No mail, State ID doesnt even say he lives there and is not on the mortgage). If they came into the house and he consented to a search with no warrant. Would that hold up in court if they found narcotics that were in a cabinet in the kitchen that only had my personal belongings in it? Or are my right being broken?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Legal-Guru replied 5 years ago.
It's not a simple yes or no because of the concepts of third-party consent, actual authority, and apparent authority.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that “the consent of one who possesses common authority over premises or effects is valid as against the absent, nonconsenting person with whom that authority is shared.” U.S. v. Matlock. Furthermore, "if law enforcement officers reasonably believe that a third party has common authority over the premises, and hence the authority to consent to a search, the third party’s consent is valid despite the fact that he or she may not possess the actual authority to consent. This is known as the doctrine of “apparent authority.” Illinois v. Rodriguez.

Thus, if the person had access to the area searched or reasonably appeared to have access to the area searched his/her consent gave the police authority to search that area.