A few weeks ago, the Traverse Narcotics Team along with the Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office busted a drug operation running out of a local motel. According to a report by MINews26.com, the officers executed a search warrant late on a Wednesday night. When they entered the hotel room, they found large amounts of several different kind of drugs, including crack cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. There was also evidence found that suggested the motel occupants were packaging the drugs for resale.
The street value of the drugs that the officers recovered is estimated to be about $8,000. Four people were in the motel room when the police executed the warrant; however, only three were taken in to get booked. Two of them were charged with drug trafficking and the third had outstanding warrants.
Along with the drugs, police found a significant amount of drug paraphernalia, indicating that the motel occupants were also using the drugs themselves. Police also found roughly $4,500 in cash in the motel room.
Executing Warrants in a Hotel Room Believe it or not, a hotel room offers the same level of privacy as a primary residence, as far as the law is concerned. This means that before an officer can enter your hotel or motel room, they either need a warrant or the facts must give rise to one of the few exceptions to the warrant requirement.
The basis for this rule is that people have a legitimate expectation of privacy in their hotel rooms. Therefore, it would not be fair to allow police to go searching through every person’s hotel room without a warrant; that would violate the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution that deals with illegal searches and seizures.
One Important Exception to the Warrant Requirement: Consent Police need a warrant to search a hotel room unless the facts give rise to an exception to the warrant requirement. One such exception is if the person occupying the room gives their consent for the officers to enter and search the hotel room. Once an officer has consent—and it doesn’t matter how they get it, because they are legally allowed to lie—then the occupant will have a very difficult time challenging any evidence the officer seizes. So remember, if an offier asks your permission to enter your hotel room and search it, you do not have to say yes.
And keep in mind the fact that you refuse to allow the officer in cannot be used against you. You are merely exercising your constitutional right, and that generally cannot be used as evidence of wrongdoing.
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