Legal Questions

When is a warrantless search allowed?

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These are the instances when a warrantless search is allowed:

1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest recognized under Section 12, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court 8 and by prevailing jurisprudence;

2. Seizure of evidence in “plain view,” the elements of which are:

(a) a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties;

(b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who had the right to be where they are;

(c) the evidence must be immediately apparent, and

(d) “plain view” justified mere seizure of evidence without further search;

3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicle’s inherent mobility reduces expectation of privacy especially when its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion amounting to probable cause that the occupant committed a criminal activity;

4. Consented warrantless search;

5. Customs search;

6. Stop and Frisk;  and

7. Exigent and Emergency Circumstances.

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