You typically have an expectation of privacy in your home, so you know that the police can’t just come into your house and search through it for documents after accusing you of financial crimes. They would have to get a warrant first, or they would need to get your consent to come into the house.
However, the police may believe that you’ve thrown away important documents that may be tied to the case. As such, they want to look in your trash. Do you still have an expectation of privacy? Are they allowed to look through the things that you’ve thrown away?
Here’s what you should know:
Only when they leave your home
Typically, the police are allowed to search through your trash, but only once you’ve rolled the bin out to the curb. If the trash is still in your house, or on your private property, then they’re not allowed to look at it without violating your rights. You still have an expectation of privacy for everything that you own, if they don’t have a warrant, even if those items are technically in a trash can.
But once you roll the bin out to the street, then you remove this expectation of privacy. The police can look through the bin, and they’ve even been known to dig in landfills to try to find evidence after the fact. Once it has left your possession and your property, it is fair game, even if the police do not have a warrant.
Your defense options
If you believe that the police have illegally obtained evidence or if you run into other complications, it’s very important to know about your legal defense options.