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How far can one go to defend him/herself from an unreasonable search and seizures, in the same sense of one defending him/herself from an unlawful arrest?

For example (hypothetical), an officer thinks that there is evidence to a crime in one's tool shed, looks far enough, without entering one's property, to get a closer look. He thinks he sees evidence in sight and attempts to search it without a warrant. However, the property owner (say is a person of interest in the case), forbids him from searching the shed, as he does not have a warrant and highly believes there is no possible way he could have seen the evidence from outside his property. The officer attempts to barge in, and the owner defends himself, say by pressing against the door to the shed with heavy objects, making extremely loud noise to get the officer to leave, or anything else that would make the situation dangerous or unplesant for the officer in efforts to get him to leave and prevent an "unreasonable search and seizure".

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How far can one go to defend him/herself from an unreasonable search and seizures, in the same sense of one defending him/herself from an unlawful arrest?

Not very far. Basically all you can do is try to talk the officer out of it.

He thinks he sees evidence in sight...

If the police officer reasonably believes that there is evidence of a crime in plain view, then the officer can proceed to seize the evidence. If the property owner tries to use force to prevent the seizure, then the officer can arrest the property owner.

... the property owner ... highly believes there is no possible way he could have seen the evidence from outside his property.

It doesn't matter what the owner believes (unless the owner can somehow convince the officer before the search). What matters is what the court believes. But the owner cannot bring the matter to court before the officer enters the shed. If the officer insists on entering the shed and the owner can establish in court that the officer couldn't see the evidence and that there was no other lawful basis for a warrantless search or seizure, then the evidence will be inadmissible. The owner might also be able to prevail in a civil suit for the violation of civil rights, but the bar for such a suit is very high, so the likelihood is very small.

  • So for example barricading your door would be illegal even if the attempted search and seizure was illegal? – J. Linne Apr 8 '20 at 18:01
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    @J.Linne I doubt someone would be convicted for failing to cooperate with an illegal search, but it's probably possible in some jurisdictions, especially if the police officer had good reason to believe that the search was legal even though it wasn't. Certainly, there is a line beyond which failure to cooperate would be illegal, for example assaulting the police officer. The position of that line probably varies from one jurisdiction to the next. – phoog Apr 8 '20 at 19:48

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