Can a police officer pull up into a private parking lot without any 911 call or warrants to approach the premises? 8 Answers as of April 23, 2013

One night I was hanging out with a friend of mine who lives close to my house in a 2 family home which has a dentist’s office attached to it. Behind this little house/building is a small parking lot for maybe 4 cars max which is for the tenants who live there, which they have their own spots and also the spot for the dentist that has his office there. My friend allowed me to park my truck behind his mom’s car and I wasn't blocking the opening to the driveway so everything was okay. This was at 10 o clock at night so no dentist was even parked there, but I respected his spot and was able to park where I stated. Me and my friend had purchased marijuana from his guy and sat in my vehicle with the car not running, all the lights off and the car parked being his moms which was okay. I was planning to stay the night so it was a good place to put my car. All the windows were up and we had the marijuana by my cup holder with the scale to see how much we wanted to smoke and even out our rations since we both split the cost. Without any warning, siren or light a police car pulls up silently behind me and parks next to my car. I try to quickly hide what I got but of course as he gets there he knows me and I know him. As I turn my power on to lower the window he sticks his arm in my vehicle pulls the lock up and opens my door, frisks me and cuffs me. We wait 5 minutes for the detectives to come and my friend and I are both arrested and brought to HQ. He had a joint on him and papers and accessories. I had the scale, 5 grams of marijuana which we bought together and baggies that we had from buying dimes in the past (hard to believe I know but can't really do much with that). Now my question is....there were no 911 calls anywhere near the area nor was there a suspect who had run from the police to bring him to the lot itself. I hadn't been driving at my truck was sitting there for hours. The cop didn’t even have his front lights on, he was definitely trying to be sneaky.

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Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
You are in the parking lot of a commercial business that is closed. SO, you lose.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 4/23/2013
William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
A judge would decide whether the officers actions were justified based upon reasonable suspicion or probable clause. An attorney can assist you with evaluating the prosecution's case, any defenses that you might have, and any plea offer that might be made, so that you can decide whether to plea bargain or go to trial. If you were to be found guilty, then an attorney can assist you with presenting mitigation, allocution, and a recommendation for a more lenient sentence. and a recommendation for a more lenient sentence.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 4/18/2013
Law Offices of Eric J. Bell | Eric J. Bell
The cop will probably say he saw the weed in plain view. Which means he saw a crime being committed in his presence. I know this is probably not the case based on your description. Hire an experienced criminal lawyer in your area and fight this case.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 4/18/2013
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
Yes the police can do this. This is good work by the police. They could not enter the house without a warrant but they certainly can go into an outdoor private parking area.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/18/2013
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
You are in trouble. Lot is pen to the public apparently. Cop can enter and 911 and sirens or other announcements not necessary. There may, be other issues re the search but you need to discuss those with your attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/18/2013
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    If the officer has reasonable cause to investigate what this occupied car was doing parked behind the building, and when he looked towards you, you made a furtive movement to hide something, I would be willing to guess he had a valid reason to search your car and arrest you for the marijuana violations. You better hire a lawyer to go through all the evidence, maybe he will decide to file a motion to suppress evidence. However, you have the burden of proving the search was illegal in the first place, and will probably be unable to carry your burden of proof.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    That will be up to the Judge.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/18/2013
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Well d have to seethe layout of the lot and buildings in order to figure out whether the entry and search was illegal.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/18/2013
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