Under the 4th Amendment, the Constitution guarantees that an individual is to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures in their homes. This is due to the fact that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy from government intrusion in their home. But what happens when the police have a valid search warrant to search your house? Are they allowed to just storm in, or do they have to give you notice?
Since the 4th Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches in their homes, polices officers are generally required to knock and announce their presence before entering a home for any purpose. By requiring police officers to do this, courts have recognized that occupants should be given notice and allowed to collect themselves prior to entrance by police officers. However, like almost every rule, there are several important exceptions.
Although there is not a steadfast rule requiring a certain statement to be shouted by police officers when announcing their presence, police officers generally shout something that identifies that they are police and the purpose of their visit. However, since there isn’t a certain rule, police don’t have to meet any specific requirement in order to properly announce their presence. Additionally, although the police officers are announcing themselves in order to give the occupant notice, just because an occupant does not hear the police does not mean that the police did not properly announce their presence.
Another important part of the knock and announce rule is the timing between the knock and announce and the subsequent forcible entry. Although courts have stated that police officers are required to wait a reasonable amount of time before forcibly entering a person’s house, these courts have not given an exact amount of time required either. Because of this, police officers just have to show that under the circumstances, they were justified in the amount of time that they waited before entering.
No Knock and Announce Required
There are also certain situations where police officer are not required to knock and announce at all. If prior to the entry of the house, police officers know that there is a threat of violence or a possibility that evidence will be destroyed, police officers are not required to knock and announce. This is often seen in situations where police officers are about to raid a house where drugs and guns will be present. The reasoning behind this is that by not having to knock and announce, suspects will not be able to harm the police officers or flush drugs down the toilet.
Consequences of Violations To This Rule
Surprisingly, unlike other violations of the 4th Amendment, violation of the knock and announce rule by police officers does not generally exclude any evidence found. In Hudson v. Michigan, the Supreme Court found that even though police did not properly knock and announce their presence, the police would still have found the evidence with proper procedure. Based off of this reasoning, many other courts have followed the Supreme Court’s lead on admitting evidence found in violation of the knock and announce rule. However, certain state courts have also ruled in the opposite direction. Because of this, there is always a possibility that evidence could be excluded for a violation of the knock and announce rule.
If you or someone you know have been charged with a crime based off a search where the police may have not properly knocked and announced, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case and possibly get the evidence excluded. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.
James Minick is founder and C.E.O. of Minick Law, P.C. James is committed to providing top notch legal services through his team of highly specialized legal professionals. James will defend your rights.