The answer is generally no.
The Fourth Amendment protects you from warrantless searches in places where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy unless the search falls under an exception to the warrant requirement, such as when an item is in plain view.
But when do you have a “reasonable expectation of privacy?” The answer may depends on the facts of your specific case. Some factors a court considers are: (1) ownership of the property searched; (2) whether you were legitimately present in the area searched; (3) whether you had a possessory interest in the area or property seized; (4) prior use of the area searched or property seized; (5) the ability to control or exclude others from the property; (6) whether you had a subjective expectation of privacy; (7) the nature of the premises where the search occurred; and (8) the intimate or personal nature of the activities that usually take place in that space.
Be aware that different judges may weigh these factors very differently. Therefore, an attorney who has experience with your particular judge may be able to present your situation to that judge in its most appealing light.
In People v. Pearson, police searched the defendant’s hospital room after he had been shot. A nurse took defendant’s clothing from his room and gave it to the police at their request and without defendant’s consent. The court held that defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the hospital room: “The concern for patients’ personal bodily privacy and vulnerability…gave rise to the laws protecting the privacy and confidentiality of medical treatment …. Those same laws were in effect at the time of the events here, supporting a similar conclusion that [defendant]’s expectation of privacy was one that “society is prepared to consider reasonable.”
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Did the officer have a legitimate basis for the search? If not, an attorney can petition the court in hopes of suppressing the evidence from the search.
If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email email@example.com.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)