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Being Searched by Police Without Warrant and How to Deal With It

The police can conduct a search without a warrant on a person for a number of reasons. The instances whereby the police can make such a search are enumerated under Sections 29 and 30 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000.

A perusal of the said law requires of a police officer to have reasonable suspicion before he can conduct a search without a warrant.

For example, if a police officer reasonably suspects a person to have a stolen property then a search may be conducted even without a warrant.

A person can actually refuse to have a search conducted without a warrant because the police do not have an automatic right to conduct such search on your person. Remember that they must have a reasonable suspicion first before they can search without a warrant. However, one must be careful in protesting the search.

Do not raise your voice against the police or make any aggressive movements because these might be construed as resistance against police authority. It would be helpful to remember the names of the witnesses to your refusal to the search. However, despite your refusal the police can still make the searches under Section 29 and 30 and when they do it is best to contact a lawyer immediately.

The products of a search may be seized by the police but they cannot keep seized items for more than 28 days unless there is a court order. The exception to this rule is if the seized item is illegal per se like prohibited drugs or unlicensed firearm.

The person who is the subject of a search without a warrant can raise the illegality of an arrest by questioning whether the police officers had a reasonable suspicion to conduct the search. The law does not provide a definition for ‘reasonable suspicion’.

However, in the practice of law, the basis of a reasonable suspicion is whether a reasonably minded man would form a suspicion under the circumstances. If indeed the search is illegal then any seized item is inadmissible as evidence against the person searched.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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