18 U.S. Code § 2236 - Searches without warrant

Whoever, being an officer, agent, or employee of the United States or any department or agency thereof, engaged in the enforcement of any law of the United States, searches any private dwelling used and occupied as such dwelling without a warrant directing such search, or maliciously and without reasonable cause searches any other building or property without a search warrant, shall be fined under this title for a first offense; and, for a subsequent offense, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

This section shall not apply to any person—

(a) serving a warrant of arrest; or

(b) arresting or attempting to arrest a person committing or attempting to commit an offense in his presence, or who has committed or is suspected on reasonable grounds of having committed a felony; or

(c) making a search at the request or invitation or with the consent of the occupant of the premises.

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., § 53a (Aug. 27, 1935, ch. 740, § 201, 49 Stat. 877).

Words “or any department or agency thereof” were inserted to avoid ambiguity as to scope of section. (See definitive section 6 of this title.)

The exception in the case of an invitation or the consent of the occupant, was inserted to make the section complete and remove any doubt as to the application of this section to searches which have uniformly been upheld.

Reference to misdemeanor was omitted in view of definitive section 1 of this title. (See reviser’s note under section 212 of this title.)

Words “upon conviction thereof shall be” were omitted as surplusage, since punishment cannot be imposed until conviction is secured.

Minor changes were made in phraseology.

Editorial Notes

2002—Pub. L. 107–273 inserted “under this title” after “warrant, shall be fined” and struck out “not more than $1,000” after “for a first offense”.

1996—Pub. L. 104–294 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $1,000”.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.