The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers AVVO Rating 10.0 Superb | Top Attorney Criminal Defense 10 Best 2014-2016 | 3 Years | Client Satisfaction | American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys WHO'S WHO | Top Professional | Certified 2017 top 100 lawyer ASLA 10 best 2016 client satisfaction| American Institute of personal injury Attorneys
The Kelly Law Firm Law Offices of Kelly & Conte
Call Anytime - Day or Night
610-314-7066 610-314-7066
The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers
AVVO Rating 10.0 Superb | Top Attorney Criminal Defense
Nation's Premier | NACDA | Top Ten Ranking 2014
10 Best 2014 | Client Satisfaction Award | American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys

Elements for the plain view doctrine in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, plain view is a type of exception or excuse from the constitutional provision requiring that all searches must be conducted pursuant to a warrant.  Under the plain view exception, the Commonwealth must prove that the officer was lawfully present in his location, the item was in plain view, and the criminal nature of the item was readily apparent.

Element 1: Officer lawfully present

This element essentially requires that the officer be lawfully present where he is viewing the item.  This means that the officer cannot be in any constitutionally protected areas (such as the inside of a home) without legal justification.  If the officer violates this element, plain view cannot apply and the evidence shall be suppressed.

Element 2: The item was in plain view

This element requires that the item viewed must actually be in plain view.  The plain view exception exists because if an item is in plain view, it technically means there is no search.  Therefore, the officer is forbidden from doing anything that would be considered a search.

Element 3: The criminal nature of the item must be readily apparent

Again, the justification for allowing the plain view exception to the warrant requirement is that the police officer's actions do not necessarily constitute a search or seizure.  But, if the criminal nature of an item is not immediately apparent to the officer and it requires more investigation or testing of the item, then the plain view exception cannot be applicable to the case.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Why We Succeed


We prepare every case as if it is going to trial. Our reputation for thorough preparation puts us in a much stronger negotiating position with prosecutors and opposing counsel.

See what our clients are saying...


For more than 15 years, people throughout Chester County and the surrounding area have turned to Law Offices of Kelly & Conte for sound legal advice and aggressive representation.

Learn more about our team...


We will not accept a deal simply for the sake of closing your case. We care about your future, and we pursue every available option in an effort to secure the best possible outcome.

View our case results...
Schedule a Case Evaluation

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

Bold labels are required.

Please note that First AND/OR Last Name, and Email AND/OR Phone are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Law Offices of Kelly & Conte
213 W Miner Street #3
West Chester, PA 19382

Phone: 610-314-7066
Fax: 610-436-0628
West Chester Law Office Map

Review Us
Back to Top