Nottingham, MD asked in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Maryland

Q: If I have a housemate and the police produce a search warrant for them, are my possesions included in the warrant?

For example; can they search my room or if I have a locked safe?

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: The search warrant generally applies to an entire premises, unless it is limited by its terms. If not limited, they may very well search and seize your items. If that were to happen, you would need to retain counsel to either invalidate the seizure as to your possessions, or move to suppress any evidence of a crime that implicates you that was seized from your room, and argue that your 4th Amendment rights were violated. You would likely have to establish that your room was clearly identifiable as only yours and not that of your roommate for whom the warrant was issued. However, if the warrant is racially valid and the police executed it in good faith, it is likely that any evidence inadvertently seized from your room that is evidence of a crime will be upheld as validly and legally seized. You need to be careful about whom you associate and live with, as their crimes may very well implicate you. Crime evidence found in the common areas of the rental unit may be deemed sufficient to arrest and convict all residents, and even visitors present at the time of the search.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.