Do I have grounds for a motion to suppress due to the fact that the police came in without a warrant or probable cause?

Asked over 2 years ago - Salem, OR

I am 18 and was recently at a party in a basement. There were many people over 21 and they went to the door when the police arrived. They had no warrant, so the homeowners refused to allow the officers to enter. In response, the officers kicked down the door.

As I understand it, police need either a warrant or reasonable suspicion AND exigent circumstances.

Even if they can prove that they had reasonable suspicion, there were no circumstances that would be categorized as exigent circumstances. Nobody was in any danger, there was no indication that evidence was at risk of being destroyed, no crime was visibly taking place, no felons were in the area, no danger was present, and there was no clear evidence that any minors were present.

The police came in and wrote 35 MIPs

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Troy Austin Pickard

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Maybe, maybe not.

    It *might* depend on what the police say about their observations. Obviously, *you* don't think there were "exigent circumstances," but the officers' observations and the Oregon Court of Appeals' 1998 decision of State v. Jangala may disagree with you.

    In any case, if you DO need a suppression motion, you'll need to hire an attorney. So, you should hire one at this point to get the best possible outcome in this case, regardless of whether a suppression motion is appropriate.

  2. Curtis Lamar Harrington Jr

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Factors might be:

    1. Loud music. If there was no music, the atmosphere would be calm and would militate against exigency.

    2. Loud noises and screaming. If no one was making loud noises and shouting and screaming, the atmosphere would be calm and would militate against exigency.

    3. If no one notifiied the police, and if they were just driving by in a quiet neighborhood, the chances for suppression would be improved. However I suspect that someone may have reported alcohol being served to minors. If so, there is a real question about whether the premises could have been secure in the time required to have a warrant. A warrant may have been applied for and granted telephonically, however.

    35 MIP's might translate into the same number of suppression motions unless all are before the same judge at the same time.

    Were the homeowners charged with providing alcohol to minors? This would be the simplest and most direct case to challenge the search. "Standing" is gradually being downplayed, but a good prosecutor might object to a suppression motion fo reach MIP charge.

    The other problem is straight evidence and runs conversely to standing. If a 17 year old is in a room with alcohol, is he possessing it? Were the minors interrogated? How was each one connected to "his" alcohol?

    Some good local defense attorney will make quite a bit from this, both monetarily and in terms of publicity. And especially if he prevails.

    Homeowner should hire a criminal attorney and have him gather all the evidence and give you an evaluation.

    Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal... more
  3. John Wesley Hall Jr.

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . Loud party calls lead to MIP charges all the time. One visible beer can around a minor is probable cause. "Clear evidence" is not required, only probable cause.

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