Or home is the place we enjoy most and where we should feel safe and at peace. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many people are forced to endure a nightmare after police officers force their way into their property without a search warrant. You may wonder if the police are allowed to kick down your door because they think something illegal may be happening. The Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych invite you to keep reading as we discuss whether police officers can knock down your door without a warrant.
When Are the Police Allowed to Knock Down Your Door?
It may sound surprising to most, but police officers can knock down your door and force their way into your property. However, not every situation justifies knocking down the door of your home. Police officers can get into your home in the following instances:
In most cases, police officers will knock at the door and announce their presence in order to talk to the resident of a property. The mere presence of law enforcement at your door doesn’t mean they will automatically kick your door down. Generally, the “knock and announce” rule will be the first thing police officers try before attempting forced entry. However, if you take too long to answer the police, them may attempt to find a reason to knock your door down. If you suspect any impropriety on the part of law enforcement, contact an attorney right away.
On the other hand, if police officers notice something wrong is happening inside the house — if they see or hear what seems to be a criminal act such as domestic violence, an aggravated assault, sexual assault or other crime — they can knock the door down and intervene. This is what is known as an exigent circumstance. An exigent circumstance allows law enforcement to act in a situation where getting a warrant may lead to destruction or a loss of evidence.
Sometimes, a judge may issue a no-knock order to arrest an individual who has been labeled as hostile, especially against law enforcement. In these situations, officers don’t have to knock and announce their presence. All they need to do is knock down the door and perform an arrest. However, some officers may attempt to perform the same arrest without a judge-issued warrant, hoping they can catch a suspected felon and put him or her behind bars. In this situation, police officers may be in breach of your legal and constitutional rights. Keep in mind that your person and property are protected by the U.S. Constitution, and you are innocent until proven otherwise.
You may wonder why is consent important to remember in situations where a police officer knocks on your door. No person would consent to have their door knocked down by the police. However, if you allow entry, you waive your constitutional protections against unreasonable, illegal searches and seizures. This means that if you allow the police into the entrance of your home and they find an unlawful item or substance, you can be arrested and charged.
Does the Law Protect My Home Against Forcible Entry?
Every citizen enjoys the protections granted by the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment explicitly protects individuals against illegal searches and seizures. In other words, police officers cannot force their way into your home. In most cases, law enforcement will need to request a warrant from a judge so they can legally enter your property. The warrant must specify and detail what police officers are allowed to look for, as well as where and when. Furthermore, when they knock at your door and announce their presence, they will need to provide you with the warrant. It is essential to examine the order to see if it is valid and if it clearly states what actions law enforcement officials are permitted to perform.
If the order is not legal, or if the police force entry without probable cause and without a warrant, they cannot seize any evidence. Any evidence they collect from your home as a result of an illegal search and seizure will be inadmissible in court.
Criminal Defense Lawyers Offering Free Consultations in New Jersey
The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are ready to defend your constitutional rights. If you or a loved one was the victim of an illegal search and seizure by the police, we can help. Our skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable attorneys dedicate themselves to upholding and defending your rights. Don’t let police intimidate you, and do not offer any statements before talking to our attorneys first. To speak to a professional about your case in a free, private consultation, call our law offices today at (609) 616-4934.