If the police suspect that a person has illegal substances in their home, they may conduct a search and seizure on the property. There are many rules and regulations that law enforcement must follow when conducting this process, both to acquire evidence and to ensure the safety of others.
Search and seizure laws are often misunderstood, which can complicate matters. This guide explains a few key points and provides insight into the responsibility of law enforcement.
Exigent entries occur when law enforcement lacks a warrant to come onto the premises. In order to perform an exigent entry, the office must show that there was an acceptable reason for the procedure. For example, exigent entry can occur when the officer has concerns about destroying evidence or when pursuing a felon. They can also enter without a warrant to protect the safety of others in the immediate area.
Officers must also provide justification for any nighttime searches taking place between 8 pm and 6 am. This can be a matter of safe and efficient access or concerns about the quality of evidence on the premises. Officers must create an affidavit containing information supporting the legitimacy of a nighttime search. The law enforcement officer must provide the affidavit to the appropriate court, which will then make a decision.
Knock and announce
Law enforcement must follow knock and announce rules before entering the premises using force. Procedures stipulate that the officer must knock at the entryway, announce their identity, and explain their purpose before actually entering the building. Exceptions to knock and announce rules do exist, which allow law enforcement to enter without taking the above steps. Exceptions include threats to the safety of others and when a suspect is in danger of escaping.
Understanding your rights is important, as it allows you to identify potential violations. If you experience a violation of your rights, you may have a case against the arresting officer and other law enforcement officials.