It’s Saturday night and you are in downtown Minneapolis with your friends having a good time. Before leaving your apartment, you smoke some marijuana and leave behind about 45 grams in a plastic bag on the kitchen table. While you are gone, a pipe bursts in your apartment and water leaks down through the ceiling of the apartment below you. A tenant notices the water leak and calls maintenance to fix the problem. Maintenance enters your apartment while you are gone and notices the bag of marijuana you left behind on the kitchen table. Maintenance notifies the landlord who calls the police requesting that the narcotics be removed from your apartment. The police agree to meet the landlord at your apartment. When police arrive, the landlord consents to their request to enter and search your apartment. Officers locate and seize the bag of marijuana. When you arrive back at your apartment after a night on the town, you encounter the police waiting for you. You are handcuffed and told you are under arrest for possession of a felony amount of marijuana.
Does the landlord have the authority to consent to the police entry and search of your apartment? No. The U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions protect us all against unreasonable searches and seizures. Warrantless searches are considered to be unreasonable unless the search fits into a recognized exception to the warrant requirement, such as valid consent to search by a person who has authority to consent. A landlord does not have the authority to consent to a police search of an apartment occupied by a tenant. A landlord can only consent to a search if the apartment is abandoned by the tenant. Minnesota law only grants the landlord authority to enter to make repairs, inspect, etc. when there is a business purpose for the entry and a good faith effort has been made to notify the tenant in advance. http://Minn. Stat. § 504B.211, subd. 2 (2016)
If a landlord has consented to a warrantless entry and search of your apartment by police for evidence of a crime, you have rights! A skilled Minnesota criminal defense attorney will file a motion to suppress the seized evidence. Without the use of the evidence, the prosecution’s case will be dismissed by the Court for lack of probable cause. Please call me at (612) 339-1024 if you are in need of the services of a skilled and experienced Minneapolis criminal defense attorney .