I have been arguing with a family member, and they threatened to call the police and tell them that I have drugs in my home. If they actually follow through, do the police have any right to come search my home? I have no criminal background, and I would like to know what my rights are in case they show up. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • 1
    How old are you? Is the 'family member" a parent? Mar 18, 2018 at 4:18
  • Identify a local criminal attorney who deals with drug cases and ask their advice. They will have a lot of practical experience with the local police.
    – Tom
    Mar 19, 2018 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


If the police show up with a warrant, you have to let them search (a warrant would require probable cause). If they have no warrant, they can search only if you permit them to, or they have probable cause (meaning, pretty good evidence that you committed a crime) and there are "exigent circumstances", for instance if they are in hot pursuit of a felon, or you fired a gun from your house. If there is some other evidence (such as a drug-sniffing dog) plus accusations by someone, then a third-party tip could constitute probable cause. It's rather difficult to say when a third party's say-so would constitute probable cause, but Illinois v. Gates gives an example of how specific details can constitute probable cause. They can also search if they have consent from someone they reasonably believe can legally give consent. For example, the owner of the property can give consent.

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    Without a warrant, probable cause by itself isn't enough - they would also need some form of exigent circumstances to go with it.
    – D M
    Mar 18, 2018 at 5:38
  • If you're renting, the landlord can't give consent to search, except in specific circumstances. Oct 15, 2020 at 19:09

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