Private Searches Law and Legal Definition

Private search is a search conducted by a private person rather than a law enforcement officer. Items found during such searches are admissible in evidence provided the person conducting the search was not acting at the direction of a law enforcement officer.

Private searches are an exception to the exclusionary rules which allows for the admission in trial of evidence illegally gathered by private parties, including estranged spouses, neighbors, security guards, and delivery presons. If your neighbor burglarizes your home and turns evidence over to the police, the evidence is admissible. However, if the police burglarized your home, the evidence would be excluded

Such private individuals are not subject to the same Fourth Amendment provisions as government officials. This exception applies only if the private search for evidence is made without the knowledge or participation of a government agent. This exception applies to residences as well as public places.