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Can the Police Search Through your Trash for Evidence of Drug Use?

If you are suspected of a drug crime, the police legally have the right to search through your trash for evidence. Currently, the U.S. laws declared that there is no expectation of privacy in any trash that was put out by the curb. This means that law enforcement can search through your trash as much as they want to for any clues to a drug habit. The police find bags with traces of an illegal narcotic, packaging with traces of drug powder, needles used for heroin, drug paraphernalia, or any other evidences, this can be used against you in court.

The reason that trash searches are permitted is simple. The Fourth Amendment of the United States protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures. These involve an individual intruding on your private property and probing through your home or personal belongings. Trash that is out on the street is not considered private. On the contrary, if the police wanted to seraph a trash can that is inside your home, they would need a seraph warrant to do so. Also, if you have trash on your person, such as receipts in your pocket or empty bags, then the police need a search warrant because they are not public.

To be technical, trash that is outside of your home on the curb, awaiting pickup, is considered public property. Trash that is within your curtilage (the immediate area surrounding your home) can be protected under the Fourth Amendment. Unfortunately, the curb is rarely considered curtilage of a property. If you have been charged with a drug crime because the police found evidence of the offense by searching through your trash, you may be able to file a motion to suppress evidence. Talk with a Plano drug defense lawyer today if you want more information about your Fourth Amendment rights and how they affect your case.