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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 30162
Experience:  Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
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Is it legal in any circumstance for the police to search a

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Is it legal in any circumstance for the police to search a dead person's house without a warrant?

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It is always legal for police to enter a home in the event of emergency, such as if they hear a call for help or someone calls 911 from inside the home. If they received a report that a person was deceased inside a house, they could enter to investigate. If there is a joint owner listed on the title, that person could give consent to enter and search, as could anyone that lived there (an owner who didn't live there couldn't give consent to search if someone else was living there). If police were in hot pursuit of a fleeing person who entered the home, they could follow. They could also enter if there was a likelihood that evidence could be destroyed before a warrant could be obtained - although, honestly, with telephonic warrants and a deceased suspect, I don't know if that would work in this scenario. Those are the basic exceptions to the warrant requirement.

If police did enter a person's home without a warrant or an exception and they found evidence of a crime, they could not use the evidence against the person whose rights were violated - but that person is deceased and unlikely to be charged with a crime. Any third party who was charged based on evidence found in a deceased person's home (if he wasn't living there) would likely not have standing to object.

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