If the police suspect that you have committed a crime or that you were involved in criminal activity, but they don’t actually have any evidence, they may do some rather unexpected things to attempt to gather it. They know that they cannot enter your home without a warrant or your permission, but they may choose to go through your trash to see if they can find evidence that way.
But is this allowed? Or are they violating your right to privacy by going through your personal belongings without your permission?
The police can go through your trash once you roll it out to the road
Generally speaking, you only have a right to privacy within your own home. Things that are in plain view do not fall under this protection.
As such, the police cannot come into your home and go through your trash. It’s still private at that point. But once you put it in the bin and roll it out to the road, then you lose your protection because it is now in plain view. You’re expected to know that anyone can look through that bin if they would like to do so.
If the police are able to collect evidence from your trash, then they may be able to use it in court or it may get them enough evidence to get a warrant to search your home.
As you move forward with this process, make sure you know about all of your rights, your protections and the legal options that you have at your disposal. It is very important to hold the police accountable and make sure they do everything by the book.