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A warrant is permission from a judge for the police to arrest someone or to search private property. For example, let’s say the police suspect that someone has hidden stolen jewels in his house. Before searching the house, the police will almost always need to ask a judge to “issue a warrant” that provides police with authority to enter the private home and conduct the search.

If police do not have permission to conduct a search but do it anyway, we say the police conducted a “warrantless” search. In many cases, a warrantless search is unconstitutional.

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