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The 4th amendment provides that people shall be free from unreasonable searches. Whether or not a search is reasonable is a legal issue meaning a judge decides, not a jury. There are many court created exceptions to allow for searches. Over the years, the 4th amendment has been severely watered down with acceptions. Therefore, in many cases, a judge can point to some exception even when the police searched without a warrant or probable cause.
The most stringent of all searches is a search of a person's house. Because people have a great expectation of privacy in their homes, the police need a very good reason to enter without first obtaining a warrant. One exception to searching a house without a warrant is the "emergency exception."
In any case involving a search without a warrant, it is wise to speak with a lawyer to help deterimine whether there is merit in brining a motion to suppress evidence. If a lawyer believes a person's rights were violated in a warrantless search, the lawyer will file a motion to suppress the evidence. This usually invovles an evidentiary hearing where the police come to court and testify why they searched without a warrant. The defendant's lawyer cross examines the police on their stories. The judge decides whether or not to "suppress" the evidence. If the evidence is suppressed the case may be dismissed by the d.a. because there is often nothing left to use at the trial to prosecute the person.