What can I do if the swat team broke into my fathers home without a warrant? 47 Answers as of July 09, 2013

SWAT knocked down my father's door and no search warrant rendered. Guns and marijuana were confiscated. The property is not in plain view, consent was not given, and law enforcement lives not in danger. SWAT received a call from a spiteful family member. Father has no priors and a hardworking and loving father and husband. Please give advice!

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Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
I would need further information but generally swat team can enter without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe criminal activity is being done. In this case p it appears probable cause was supplied by the family member. You shoud hire an attoreny and disclose al the facts to see if anything illegal was done.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/28/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
I'd recommend you consult privately with an attorney if you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances. Anyone charged is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutor would need to prove any allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. Whether the search was legal will be an issue if the prosecutor plans on attempting to use the seized items in a pending case. If the search was illegal, then a timely filed suppression motion could ensure that the evidence could not be used. However, there are other exceptions to the warrant requirement besides the ones listed in this e-mail. Ultimately, it depends on the particular circumstances.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/5/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Riana Durrett
If a defendant is charged with a crime that could involve jail time, then he or she will have a right to an attorney, even if they cannot afford one. The details of the case should be discussed with the attorney, who should be able to enlighten the defendant on the parameters of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/19/2011
Law Offices of Sean Logue
Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
You should hire an experienced criminal attorney who should be able to file a Motion to Suppress the search.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 9/19/2011
D T Pham Associates, PLLC
D T Pham Associates, PLLC | Duncan T Pham
If SWAT was used then there was clear and present danger which negates the need for a search warrant. Hire a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 9/16/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Thank you foryour inquiry Without a warrant, there may be a problem for law enforcement. Evidence may be inadmissible, and there may be a civil claim against them. Your case should be reviewed by the attorney you hire to determine the best course of action. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    HIRE A LAWYER ASAP. The scenario you point out is a candidate for a Supression hearing.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We are the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC, criminal lawyers in Augusta, Georgia. We recommend you hire a criminal attorney as soon as possible to discuss all your rights and options, including potentially contesting the constitutionality of this search. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman | Scott G. Hilderman
    Depending on the facts it may be a situation where you can get the seizure of the drugs suppressed as evidence in the case which would likely result in the case being dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Your father needs defense counsel to get the evidence seized against him suppressed, i.e., kept out of evidence at trial. We can represent him.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The SWAT team may have been justified to break down the door and enter if the emergency doctrine applies as based n the information provided they were led to believe that a life was in danger. It is also possible, that if the entry was not justified that the search and seizure of the illegal contraband could be supressed. It is a fact by fact basis on whether the search is justified and the Court makes the final determination.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Has anyone been charged with a crime as a result? If so, you need to contact an attorney because if it happened as you say, you may be able to get the evidence suppressed. You really can't make a civil claim to get the property back because you don't have the right to contraband. Potentially they could be liable for civil damages if they acted without proper legal authority. That is why you need an experienced criminal attorney to review the record and evidence against you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2011
    The Unger Law Firm
    The Unger Law Firm | Jeffrey Unger
    It is very important to discuss the case with an experienced criminal law attorney as soon as possible. Under certain limited situations, law enforcement officers can obtain a "no-knock" warrant, in which they can enter a private home without announcing themselves first. These warrants, however, can only be issued in certain, very specific, situations. An experienced criminal law attorney will be able to help you determine whether a warrant was obtained, whether the warrant was properly executed and whether the warrant was properly issued.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    He should retain the services of a competent criminal defense attorney who can review the facts and, if appropriate, file a motion to quash the evidence seized.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    Entry into your home must take place with a warrant or a valid exception to the warrant requirement. If entry was based on an anonymous tip, there must be some corroborating factors before that tip can be relied upon. I suggest you consult and experienced Criminal Defense attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Based on what you're saying, it sounds like your father will have a very viable suppression motion. However, I'll wager that the police report will read very differently.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Talk to a lawyer. Whether the police need to get a warrant is a complex question and you might not even know the facts that make the difference. But from the facts you give, there was no reason for the police not to get a warrant and without that reason, the warrant is required and they can't use the evidence against you.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Generally, your remedy for a wrongful search is suppression of the evidence at trial. In this circumstances, you need to find out what is going on. A lawyer could working for you can contact the agents and see where this case is going and from where it came. If the agents left a "search inventory," keep it. The document will be important.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Search warrant issues can only be handled properly by an experienced criminal defense attorney. There is nothing that you can do, other than to hire one or get a public defender. The non-lawyer will never prevail on these issues. The DA will never concede to a non-lawyer and they may not even concede to the best lawyer in the world. If there was no warrant, it is unlikely that this search will be upheld by the courts. If the search is bad, all the evidence should be suppressed and the case dismissed. I do not think it is common, but police do search houses without warrants or any other permission from time to time. In these situations, the evidence is suppressed. I had all the evidence suppressed on a MJ grow case last year for lack of warrant. I would find it unlikely that SWAT would make a mistake like this. It is a really big operation and costly. I doubt they would go through that trouble without a warrant. But the police often surprise me, so do the DAs. Get an experienced criminal defense attorney. Do not talk to anyone else. Guns and drugs equal a very large minimum sentence. By the way, they record all inmate conversations at the jail except with attorney, so do not discuss the facts at all. Tell your father the same. They can get an interpreter for any language and any slang.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Father needs a good lawyer to review the offense reports to see if there is a search and seizure issue. There is insufficient information provided to give a better answer.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/24/2013
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    Your father needs to hire the best criminal defense attorney he can afford. The attorney may be able to defend the charge or at least negotiate a plea bargain that may avoid incarceration and possibly avoid a conviction. It may be possible to have any physical evidence suppressed based upon an illegal search and seizure in violation of your father's Constitutional rights. I have handled many cases with similar facts, and I might be able to offer my services to your father for a reasonable fee.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    Two issues: Did the "spiteful" family member have the authority to give police consent to search and specifically to search the area where the items were recovered. Did they have a lawful warrant issued by a judge prior to the search even if it wasn't shown to the occupants. The best advice is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney for your father.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    The Chastaine Law Office
    The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
    In most cases a search of a home without a warrant is illegal amd you may be able to get the evidence excluded. Get a good lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    If it was a warrantless search that does not fit one of the exceptions then once charged a motion to suppress is the correct action.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Simple advice: he needs to hire a lawyer to beat the charges.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can discuss a potential motion to suppress. Simply bc your father did not get a copy of the warrant doesn't mean a legal warrant doesn't exist. However, the laws to suppress warrants can get complicated and tricky so you need someone experienced.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    If the police felt that an emergency situation was occurring, they have every right to break into the house, imagine hostage situations, and events of a similar nature. However, once they discovered that nothing was happening, they should have left, assuming no warrant was issued. You may not have been aware of a warrant being issued, but it could have been, and because of the fast pace of events, not forthcoming at that moment. Have your father hire a GOOD defense lawyer and have him review all the evidence, from police reports, etc, and he will file the appropriate motions to suppress evidence, if it is warranted.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    The entry by the SWAT team into your father's home without a valid search warrant was illegal. The guns and marijuana that were seized during the search of his home cannot be used as evidence against him in a criminal case. An experienced criminal defense attorney will file a motion with the court to suppress the use of the evidence. If the motion to suppress is granted, the case against your father will be dismissed for lack of probable cause.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If the police searched your father's home without a warrant the contraband will be suppressed at a hearing and it will not be available at trial as evidence. Unless the emergency doctrine applies the evidence that was seized was the product of an illegal search and the case will likely be dismissed if you retain a good criminal attorney to argue the case properly.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    If the facts are as you state them, then a motion to suppress lies. Without a warrant, the burden is on the government to justify a warrantless search.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    Call a lawyer to defend against possible criminal charges and perhaps file a ci vil suit.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    There are times when the police can enter a home and search without a warrant. To know if this was the case I would need more facts to advise you. If the search was not valid then the fruits of that search should be excluded from evidence in the charges. However, the illegal property will not be returned. Now is the time to get an attorney on your fathers side.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    Sounds like an illegal search and seizure. If your father was charge with any crimes, you must file motions to suppress, among other motions. You must hire an attorney immediately, The illegal contraband will not be returned but any other things taken should be returned.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    You're going to need to fight against the search with the attorney. In order to justify a warrantless entry, they must have some sort of exigent (emergency) circumstance. I don't know what this spiteful family member said, but the officer must still be acting reasonably when they do what they do. Your attorney (or your father's attorney) will need to examine everything and possibly file a motion to suppress the evidence found based on an illegal search.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    Unless there are other facts not contained in your summary, your attorney needs to file a 1538.5 motion to suppress the evidence that was illegally seized. Once suppressed, it cannot be used in court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    The government absolutely needs a warrant to enter your home unless an exception applies. One of these exceptions is consent. With no other facts it is hard to say whether what the government did is legal or not. On the face of your message, it is illegal because no consent was given and no warrant existed. However, the police do not have to produce the warrant at the time of entry. There just has to be a valid warrant existing before the entry.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Get an attorney and fight the case. If there was no warrant maybe the drugs can be suppressed and the case dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Just because you didn't see the warrant doesn't mean they didn't have one. I need to see the offense report. Also, maybe contact the local departments and ask about the warrant. It is public information. But you need to hire the best drug attorney you can afford.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Step 1 Hire a competent criminal defense attorney. Only hire one who has a deep understanding of Fourth Amendment law. Step 2 Hire a civil rights attorney to sue the police department and to let them know that the firearms must be retained by them until they receive a court order saying otherwise. Step 3 If the spiteful relative lied, consider suing him or her for malicious prosecution and or slander. However, you will have to prove that the relative lied and knew better. With the discovery of marijuana, there must be some truth to what he or she said. Most of your energy and resources should go toward defending your dad because he is looking at substantial prison time for the weed and guns. Guns and drug use don't mix and it could cause your dad an additional 19 months in prison as if to prove that point.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    As a general rule, the police cannot search a residence without a search warrant. There are some carefully drawn exceptions, such as emergencies. But they can't just break in to seize marijuana plants. If the search is illegal, any evidence seized as a result of the search would be suppressed in court. Your challenge the search by filing a suppression motion in court.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter - the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/9/2013
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    There may well have been a warrant. I suspect that if an actual SWAT team was on the scene, there was an issued warrant. Sometimes a warrantless search may be conducted if a crime is being committed in "plain view" or the police are in "hot pursuit" of a person whom they witnessed committing a crime. I would strongly suggest meeting with an attorney to review the particular facts of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law | Jason Overton
    My advice is to hire a lawyer. Those are all things an attorney would want to look into. If it was indeed a bad search, the fruits of that search - the guns and drugs - will not be admissible as evidence, and the case will probably be dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    The best thing you can do is hire an attorney ASAP. Search warrants are not always necessary, but you need to hire an attorney that will know how to attack the search & seizure. This is not something you should even attempt to do on your own.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Law Offices of Andrew Bouvier-Brown
    Law Offices of Andrew Bouvier-Brown | Andrew J. Bouvier-Brown
    Unfortunately, the sort of advice you are seeking is difficult to give in this kind of forum. Given what you describe, it seems exceedingly likely that your father will be charged with a crime. He will need an attorney and you should begin the process of hiring one immediately. Be sure to consult with several attorneys prior to making a decision about whom to hire. Whomever represents your father will examine the evidence provided to him or her by the district attorney at the time charges are filed. If it appears that there was no basis for entering the home as you suspect then his attorney will be able to file a Motion to Suppress any evidence the police gathered as a result of the search. However, be aware that there may have been what the law would consider "exigent circumstances" justifying the entry which you are not yet aware of. This is all a very important issue for a skilled lawyer to try to sort out. It is simply too difficult for you or your father to try to handle it on your own.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/15/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    If there was no warrant or the warrant was not supported by probable cause, any charges could be challenged on the grounds of an illegal search. He should retain an attorney to challenge that aspect and any other illegal conduct by the police.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/15/2011
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