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Man consents to search without warrant, faces drug charges

Imagine being in your own home and accidentally setting off your burglary alarm. Many people would feel embarrassed that they had set off their own alarm and flustered from dealing with any sounds or neighborhood reactions that often accompany an alarm. In the chaos that may follow, the police show up to your door responding to the alarm. They say that you appear to be "nervous" and ask to come inside. What would you do?

Two young men, one of whom is from North Carolina, recently went though this very same scenario. The whole incident resulted in both of them being charged with drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession with intent to distribute and several other numerous possession charges.

The men accidentally triggered the burglary alarm in their home. When police responded to the scene, the young man who answered the door stated that everything was fine and there was no need for police assistance. The officer allegedly noted that the young man was "nervous and uncomfortable" and he asked if he could come inside the home.

In this case, the man allowed the officers to enter his home. It's important to note that a person can refuse when asked this same question. The police will then have to show probable cause to secure a warrant if they want to search the home. In the meantime, a person may be able to contact a lawyer if they have reason to be nervous.

However, the police were allowed inside the man's home in this case. Inside the home, police found several bags of marijuana and assorted paraphernalia. A North Carolina man was "near" large bags of marijuana and was arrested along with the man who answered the door. Police then secured a proper search warrant and uncovered 18 pounds of marijuana and nearly $70,000 in cash.

This serves as a good reminder that in general, police need to secure a search warrant before they can conduct a search of a person's home. By giving consent to the officers, however, the young man allowed the police to search his home without a warrant and without the restrictions that a warrant can enforce.

Source: WUSA9, "Police: 18 Lbs. Of Marijuana Found After Alarm Accidentally Triggered," July 20, 2012

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