Can law enforcement office enter my home without warrant? 46 Answers as of June 07, 2013

Law enforcement entered my home when they thought they heard a gun shot but was only a bottle rocket outside the home. They had no permission or warrant. They arrested my son and were very aggressive. Is the bottle rocket probable cause?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Yes, the police may enter a home without a warrant under certain circumstances. However, ultimately, whether the arrest, search, or entrance is legal is a matter for a properly researched, filed, and argued filed motion to suppress filed by the defense.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/11/2011
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
If they heard a noise they believe to be a gunshot, that could be reason enough to enter the home as they believed someone was in danger. Have an attorney review the police report to determine how strong the case is or how valid the assertion is. He may be able to get the matter reduced or dismissed.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/20/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
It is a question of fact, and the police will claim they were acting in an emergency situation because they thought they heard a shot. It is up to the judge to decide. You can bring a motion to supress any evidence found in the warrantless search, but the chances of success of this motion depend on the facts as stated above.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/18/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
I would need further details but most likely the police had probable cause to at least enter and investigate. The issue of whether they had probable cause to arrest is different and I would need further information.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/17/2011
Law Offices of Sean Logue
Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
An officer can enter if he beleives that a life is in imminent danger, you give him permission, he has a warrant, or is chasing a fleeing suspect.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 10/17/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Hearing what sounded like a gun shot could be considered probable cause and an exigent circumstance. Otherwise, as a general rule, police cannot enter a home without permission or a warrant
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    It might be if they reasonably thought it was a gun shot or illegal explosive. "Exigent circumstances" are one of the exceptions to the necessity of needing a search warrant.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/17/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    There is an exception to a warrant requirement, or consent, if the police believe there is an emergency situation and they are responding accordingly.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    Ultimately it will be up to the judge to determine the reasonableness of the officer's conduct based on the totality of the circumstances (all the facts). i.e., Were the cops in the building responding to a call about a gun? Did the bottle rocket really sound like a gunshot or was that just a pretext that they used? Did they call over their radios for backup and report shots fired? Did they reasonably believe someone was injured or in immediate danger? These are just a few of the many facts that will be analyzed to determine the lawfulness of their entry.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    If an officer enters your home without a warrant he must show "exigent circumstances" to justify his entry. If the officer's claim that he heard a gun shot is believed, it could constitute the required "exigent circumstances".
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    bark & karpf
    bark & karpf | peter bark
    Normally no but there are exceptions. If he hears someone screaming for help from the house or he is hot pursuit of a fugitive and sees him enter your house, he can enter without a warrant. If he reasonably perceives an emergency situation he can enter without a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Under the facts you described, yes.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    The suspicion of a gun shot was probable cause and no warrant was needed if the suspicion was reasonable.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    There are exceptions to when a warrant is necessary before entering into a private residence. One exception would be for exigent circumstances where the officer's believed there was present danger to life.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
    It's definitely a 4th Amendment issue. Police cannot, absent several exceptions, enter your home without a search warrant. And if they do, any evidence found therein will be suppressed. One of the exceptions to a warrantless search would be exigent circumstances (i.e. they hear a woman screaming for her life, they hear gunfire coming from inside the home) What was your son arrested for?
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    The Law Office of James McKain
    The Law Office of James McKain | James McKain
    The United States Constitution protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures. The United States Supreme Court has asserted that ANY search or seizure without a warren is per se unreasonable UNLESS the search or seizure falls within one of the very narrowly constructed exceptions to the warrant requirement. I this particular instance, more facts are needed to determine whether or not one of those exceptions applies in this situation. It sounds like you have good arguments available to you, so I would urge you to contact a criminal defense attorney so you may discuss the facts of your case in a safe and confidential setting.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/14/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/7/2013
    Keyser Law Firm
    Keyser Law Firm | Christopher W. Keyser
    Generally speaking, the police must have a warrant to enter your home unless you give them permission to enter. In certain circumstances, the police may enter a home without a warrant if certain "exigent circumstances" exist. In this case, the police will undoubtedly claim they needed to enter the house, even without a warrant, because they heard a gunshot and were acting on the safety of those inside. Whether there actually was a gunshot and more importantly, whether the bottle cap could reasonably be construed as a gunshot, will probably require a challenge in court. If criminal charges stem from this incident, I highly recommend contacting an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    The warrantless search of a home is presumptively unreasonable.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yes, it is probable cause, so no warrant was required.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    The police can enter without a warrant in an emergency. If they can justify that they heard a gunshot, then that should do.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC
    Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC | Ronald Aronds
    Maybe. Each case is unique and I cannot give a definite answer without first reviewing all the evidence in the case.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Cops do not need a warrant where there are exigent [emergency] circumstances. A bottle rocket exploding might be considered such an event. Consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Officers can enter without a warrant in certain limited circumstances. One of them is if they have reason to believe someone is in danger or has been injured. The arrest makes no sense unless your son was doing something dangerous with the bottle rocket or they witnessed something else illegal after entering.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    Officers must have a warrant to enter a home unless one of the exceptions to the warrant rule applies. The exceptions are: Consent: This applies if you tell them that they can enter Destruction of Evidence (exigent circumstances): If officers have reliable information that causes them to believe that evidence will be destroyed if they do not enter, they can enter Prevent Escape: Officers can enter to prevent some from escaping, if a house is surrounded then they could not enter because the person can't escape.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    The police may enter property without a warrant under two conditions. First if they are in hot pursuit of a suspect. Second if they have reasonable cause to feel that a crime is being committed and that it is necessary to enter to keep someone from getting harmed. For instance if they are driving down the street and hear a scream or if someone says that they saw a person take a child that is struggling and does not live there. This is a reasonable person test.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law | Kevin Smith
    No, as long as there were no other indications of a firearm being used (I.e. someone being heard screaming "he's got a gun!") then the officers lacked probable cause to believe a felony was being committed and could not lawfully enter without a warrant or consent.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    Yes, they thought they heard a gun shot and came inside. This is great advice not to fire bottle rockets in your house (or anywhere).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    I would need to see the police reports and talk to witnesses first.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC | Thaddeus Furlong, Esq.
    Short answer is yes if they reasonably believed a life was in danger. Potential gun shot would satisfy that as we want police to investigate those.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Offices of David L. Smith
    Law Offices of David L. Smith | David Lee Smith
    The quick answer is "no" they were not supposed to enter the house unless they were in hot pursuit of a suspect or in the case where a crime is on-going and someone is in danger, otherwise, they need to get a warrant. It sounds to me like they used the "bottlerocket" as their justification (excuse) to enter without a warrant by saying it sounded like a gun shot (and thus someone is in danger). There are many exceptions to warrant requirements and the analysis relies heavily on very specific factual scenarios, so it is always best to get all of the relevent facts before concluding a simple answer
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco | Victor J Mazzaraco
    No it's not. Lawyer up, bro. They'll walk all over you if you don't. Rotten, stinkin' way of doing business. And even worse is the deference the public gives law enforcement. If we went to trial on this issue, and the 12 jurors had to decide this question after hearing all the evidence, you'd be surprised - shocked? disappointed? bewildered? - by how many would believe the cops if they said pigs were flying. And the cops know this and use this. No time to knock because they heard a gunshot? This is what they are using to try and establish "exigent circumstances." They're required when - as here - the Constitution and individual right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures is trampled upon in a whim. Threaten to sue the. Actually file a claim. They'll back down. Especially if they get a lertter from an attorney. They'd stain their shorts, 'casue tbhey know what they're up to - and are coounting on you not knowing and not doing what has to be done to find out. I hope they have another thing coming.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    If the police, in good faith, believed that a gun shot went off inside of your home, this would be a valid exception to the warrant requirement. However, it is the police's burden to prove that it was rational to mistake the bottle rocket for a gun shot.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The police need a search or arrest warrant to enter and search a premises unless they get the owner or tenant's consent. They mat sometimes enter under the emergency doctrine when there is an emergency or threat to others because there is not time to get a judge to sign a warrant and lives may be at stake. If there is a fire, explosion, shots heard, or if they are in hot pursuit of a criminal they may enter in order to save lives and protect the innocent. The explosion would probably be considered an emergency justifying the entry and questioning, but probably not for a search of drawers, closets, or the entire home. The search would probably have to be related to the emergency and not an excuse to search for drugs or contraband unless they had reasonable cause to believe that explosives were on the premises that posed a that posed a threat to themselves or others.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    The officers were acting under the "Emergency Doctrine." If a reasonable officer would have had a reasonable belief that a gunshot had occurred inside the house, no warrant would be required. In most Washington cities, bottle rockets are illegal to begin with. Also, put on a cop uniform and go rushing into a house that you don't know. You have heard what sounded like a gun shot. Are you going to be gentle with the occupants when any one of them could shoot you? If you really feel like it is worth your time, your son's time and the expense of pursuing a law suit, contact a civil rights attorney and discuss the officer's behavior. However, my experience with law suits is that they take up too much time and energy for the clients and they are anything but easy or certain.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    In certain circumstances. You need an attorney to sort through the search and seizure law. Off the cuff, doesn't sound like they had probable cause.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    In this instance, it sounds like they can. If they heard what they believed to be a gun shot (especially if you live in an area of high crime violence) then the police may well have been acting appropriately. Consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    You need a lawyer. The police were entering the home based on "exigent circumstances." It is a highly technical aspect of warrantless searches and seizures. There is a chance it could get ruled inadmissible, but you would need a lawyer to do that properly.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    If the police can prove the bottle rocket sounded like a gun shot, under the "community caretaking exception" they could enter the home to make sure everything is Ok.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    There could be an argument either way. It is possible to argue an exemption to the warrant requirement under exigient circumstances or an emergency, but it could also be argued that the police did not know what the noise was or where it came from, and therefore couldn't enter without more or a warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    Loud reports outside are not pc/exigency to come inside without warrant, and can't arrest a person in the home without a warrant anyway.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Maybe, maybe not. Generally, they cannot enter a house without a warrant. The issue is the gun shot and what they were looking for. I think they would have to have more than just that someone thought they heard a gun. Was there an arrest? Any evidence seized? We could challenge it. Depending on the facts, you may have a civil case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    Generally the police need a search warrant to enter your home. But if they are responding to an emergency, they could enter without a warrant. It depends on whether what they heard constitutes a sufficient emergency to justify a warrantless entry.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/13/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Without a warrant, they must have consent or exigent circumstances. If, at the time of the entry, they were acting to protect life or property (i.e. to see if anyone was inside and shot & in need of assistance or was hiding inside with a gun, etc.), then they *may* be able to enter. Search issues are very fact specific, however. If all they had was one bottle rocket being set off and they knew that at the time of the entry, they'd be pretty hard pressed to justify the entry. The entire details of the case will have to be reviewed by your son's attorney to determine if a motion to suppress any evidence should be run.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/13/2011
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