When Alabama residents see a police officer knocking on their door, asking to enter the house and search it, the first response might be to let them straight in. However, it is important to keep in mind that one has certain rights guaranteed to him or her under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, including the right to privacy. This means that people are free from unreasonable searches. This means any search or seizure without a warrant is generally considered unreasonable. However, this does not mean that one is free from all searches and seizures—just those that are unreasonable.
Warrantless searches are prohibited under the Fourth Amendment, except in very limited circumstances. To be acceptable, probable cause must support the search and it must be conducted reasonably. For seizure of a person, there must be a show of authority by a police officer and the person must submit to the officer’s authority.
It is possible to arrest someone without a warrant if it can be demonstrated that there was probable cause and there was an urgent need before making the arrest. That means the officer reasonably believes that the person is guilty, based on the information or facts that the officer has. For example, if an officer believes the suspect is a threat to public security or is about to escape. If exigent circumstances are not shown, it is possible that a warrantless arrest is invalidated.
The court can examine a number of factors to determine the validity of a warrantless search or seizure, including the way the search was conducted and the degree of intrusion. Someone facing criminal charges may want to consider consulting an experienced criminal defense lawyer to present an aggressive case arguing their points.