Having the police bust down your door and start running through your house is just plain disturbing. And, contrary to what you’ve seen in the movies, it’s actually presumed illegal unless they have a warrant.
Ordinarily, police searches without warrants are unconstitutional. Illegal searches can result in evidence being thrown out and your case dismissed, but there are exceptions to the warrant requirement.
One of the exceptions involves charging onto private property or breaking into a home without a warrant due to a police emergency. It’s called “exigent circumstances.”
What “Exigent Circumstances” Means
To justify a warrantless entry, police must prove a compelling need to act and no time to get a warrant. Think of it as an emergency that forces them to act on the spot.
Examples upheld by courts include:
- The imminent destruction of evidence
- The potential for a suspect to flee
- Risk of danger to police or others
If police aren’t in hot pursuit of a fleeing suspect, they’ve got to prove probable cause the exigent circumstances existed. For example, the distinctive smell of a drug can give probable cause it’s around if an officer who’s familiar with the smell testifies he recognized the odor.
Not All Emergencies Are Emergencies
Some emergencies are real. Some are concocted.
If police busted in on you to charge you with a crime, you’ve got a legal emergency. Officers are dead set on convicting you, and they’ll enlist their own lawyer—a prosecutor—to help.
It’s time for you to level the playing field. Your freedom is at stake, and you need a professional to preserve it.
Especially since a judge could find the police “emergency” was not one at all, leading to a dismissal.
Worst case scenario, you need a cool head with legal experience to meaningfully urge the government to give you a deal you can live with. Call toll-free at 888-230-1841 now for your free strategy session with a South Carolina criminal defense attorney who’s determined to help you find the best strategy to defend your rights and freedom.