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Eugene, Oregon Criminal Defense Attorney – Search and Seizure FAQ

Many citizens are unaware of the laws regarding search warrants. Should you ever be involved in a case where a search warrant is issued, it is crucial that you seek one of the best Eugene lawyers. While it is hoped that you never find yourself in a situation requiring a search warrant, at Veralrud & Fowler we can provide you with the most qualified Eugene lawyers as legal representation. Below we have answered some frequently asked questions concerning search warrants and your rights while search and seizures are in process.

How do I know if my property is classified as private?

criminal-defense-attorney-eugene-97403-glenwoodYour house and the area within your property do, in fact, qualify as private. In order for police to search these particular places they will need a search warrant. There are certain situations where a warrant will not be needed because immediate response is required of police. An example of this would be if a suspect were destroying evidence and the officers involved execute a search and seizure without being in possession of a search warrant. It is considered vital that the evidence remain intact, and therefore, permissible for a search and seizure to be conducted without a warrant.

In cases like these, it is crucial that you seek qualified Eugene, Oregon attorneys to handle your case. The Eugene attorneys or Eugene lawyers you hire from our firm will be fully capable of giving you the representation that you deserve.

What are the police required to have in order to be granted a search warrant?

First, it is important that there is a clear understanding of what a search warrant is. A search warrant is classified as a judicial order granted by a judge to search a location and seize any evidence to a crime. The warrant informs the owners of the property under investigation that a judge has ordered law enforcement officials right to search the premises with or without their permission.

In order for police officers to obtain a warrant, they must show a judge that there is justifiable belief that the property in question contains evidence to a crime. Officers may offer their own personal observations to the judge as evidence in support of a search warrant. They may also use the observations of an informant but the informant must be determined reliable, either through past information provided or the corroboration by police of their observations.

Police officers, in most cases, must apply for a warrant in order for a search and seizure to be considered lawful. A search without proper legal backing is considered illegal and any evidence accrued inadmissible in court. Police may challenge a judge’s ruling but they must provide sufficient proof that they were justified in conducting a search and seizure in the absence of a warrant.

As Eugene attorneys and Eugene lawyers we are fully qualified to represent you. Do not traverse the justice system alone seek the qualified Eugene lawyers and Eugene attorneys at Veralrud & Fowler. The difference between winning and losing your case may lay in the Eugene Oregon attorney you choose to retain.

In what situations are law enforcement allowed to execute a search and seizure without the presence of a warrant?

As it has been made clear in answers to the above questions, there are certain situations where officers may conduct a search and seizure without the backing of a search warrant. The exceptions to the laws surrounding search and seizure are only legal in very specific situations.

Search after Arrest

Officers may search a person they are placing under arrest for weapons as well as their immediate surroundings. In order for officers to protect themselves it is vital that any weapons the person under arrest is carrying be confiscated. It is for this reason that it’s acceptable for an officer to conduct a limited search without the presence of a warrant.


If it is determined that the situation is, in fact, an emergency, law enforcement officers are allowed to conduct a search without the presence of a warrant. An example of this would be police searching homes while chasing a suspect without a search warrant. Due to the fact that the suspect poses a serious risk to the community, this situation is considered an emergency.

Plain View

Police are allowed to search and seize items that are in plain view while in areas officers are legally allowed to be. If police are conducting a search warrant in a particular area and from that area in view is evidence to a crime, they are allowed to seize the evidence even though not in the location specified by the warrant.

When dealing with situations involving search and seizure with the absence of a warrant it is vital that you seek the very best in Eugene attorneys and Eugene lawyers. The Eugene attorneys of Veralrud & Fowler have years of experience in criminal defense and can provide you with the very best attorney in Eugene Oregon.

What power does a search warrant grant police?

eugene-oregon-criminal-defense-attorneys-97403-glenwoodA search warrant grants officers the legal right to search a location without the permission of the owner. However, the warrant must be followed to the letter. Many times warrants will only grant the ability for officers to search once specific room or area. It may be that the warrant contains the search to the bathroom or the living room. Therefore, their search must remain in those specific areas in order to remain legal.

Like with many laws, there are certain exceptions. Police are allowed to search beyond the limitations of a search warrant in order to ensure the safety of all those involved in the search and seizure. Officers may also search for evidence beyond the scope of the warrant if the evidence they found inside the authorized locations indicates that evidence may be found beyond the approved sites in the warrant. If law enforcement believes that evidence is being destroyed they have the right to expand their search. Evidence within plain view of the locations approved in the warrant is can also be seized.

An officer may be in the process of executing a search warrant inside of the specified locations and hear a shredder going or a toilet flushing. Both of these situations could indicate that evidence is being destroyed. The officers present would have the right to extend the search beyond what the warrant specified in order to ensure that evidence is not being destroyed. Another example would be a warrant stating only the bathroom can be searched and officers, walking through the living room in order to enter the bathroom, see illegal drugs sitting on the coffee table. The officers would legally be allowed to seize the drugs and expand their search because the drugs were in plain view.

The types of cases where search warrants are issued have many grey areas that the Eugene lawyers of Veralrud & Fowler can guide you through.  We will ensure that our Eugene attorneys provide you with the very best legal representation.

If I’m stopped by police, can they legally frisk me and search my car?

Police officers are allowed to frisk you should they are reasonably suspicious that you are armed while stopped during traffic. They may also frisk you in search of illegal items such as drugs. These searches are considered completely legal. Officers are allowed to examine your vehicle if it is believed that evidence supporting the arrest may be found. For example, if you are believed to be driving while under the influence, police have the right to search your vehicle for the substance in question since it pertains to the reason for arrest.

If you are placed under arrest and are need legal representation, Veralrud & Fowler can provide you with the very best attorney in Eugene Oregon.

I live in an apartment; can my landlord legally allow police to search it without my consent?

Landlords do not have the legal standing to grant officers access to your apartment against your will or without your consent. However they grant police permission to search the common areas such as laundry, pool or gym. These places are considered to be property of the landlord. You pay rent, and therefore, your apartment qualifies as your private property. Without the presence of a search warrant police are required to have your permission for a search, not the permission of your landlord.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you question whether the search of your apartment was legal, give Veralrud & Fowler a call today. We are can provide you with one of the best Eugene attorneys.

I have a roommate; can they allow police to search our house/apartment without my permission?

Your roommate may give police permission to search the common areas of the apartment such as a shared bathroom, kitchen or living room. They may also grant police the right to search their personal bedroom but not yours. Your bedroom is qualifies as your private property, the police must have your permission to execute a search of your bedroom when not in possession of a search warrant.

Searches both with and without search warrants are situations filled with grey areas. The laws are full of exceptions and often open to interpretation. The Eugene attorneys at Veralrud & Fowler carry a reputation of being experienced effective and successful. 

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975 Oak Street, Suite 798

Eugene, OR 97401

Phone  (541) 345-3333
Fax  (541) 342-1908

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