open fields doctrine
- A principle used in criminal law that allows law enforcement agents to search the exterior area surrounding an individual's residence, without needing a search warrant, without infringing upon the Fourth Amendment rights of the individual
- Under the open fields doctrine, the police could search the abandoned barn found on the suspect's property.
- The open fields doctrine enabled the detectives to examine the farmhouse's surrounding area without securing a warrant first.
- Although the authorities didn't possess a warrant, the open fields doctrine made their search of the wooded area behind the house lawful.