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Is it legal for police officer to enter your home with out a warrant?

Anniston, AL |
Filed under: Civil rights

An officer knocked on door asked if someone was there. Told officer no and he asked who all was in home, he was told, then he wanted to verify so he walked on in with no invitation, after being there a while (15) minutes, he does not call in any names to the police dept. but out of nowhere decides he has a warrant on girl friend. The purpose was to intice us to tell him where the person he was hunting was staying, but we did not know. He arrest girlfriend and now in jail under a $5000 bond for child support that she was previously arrested for and bonded out and awaiting court. How can she be arrested twice on what she was allready waiting court.

Attorney Answers 1

Posted

The Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 4.1., authorize a law enforcement officer to arrest a subject without warrant only if:
a)The law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a felony has been committed, …, or
b)Any offense has been committed in the law enforcement officer’s presence or view, or
c)The arrest is otherwise authorized by statute, such as Ala. Code 1975 section 32-5-171, 32-5A-191, 15-10-3.

It is a fundamental rule of criminal procedure that for a law enforcement officer to make an arrest at a third party’s residence, a valid search warrant must be employed. See, Steagald v. U.S., 451 U.S. 204 (1981). The Steagald rule has been extended to guests and invitees. Although guests and invitees will ordinarily have a somewhat lesser degree of standing to object to the search of the residence, they still possess Fourth Amendment standing. In Minnesota v. Olson, 495 U.S. 91 (1990), the Supreme Court recognized that even overnight guests have an expectation of privacy in the premises and could challenge a search directed to the guest. Thus, guests have a Constitutional right to object to a search in that part of the house in which they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Justice Kennedy noted in Minnesota v. Olson: “…almost all social guests have a legitimate expectation of privacy … in their host’s home.” Id at 386.

Previously, in Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 575 (1980), the Supreme Court held “that the Fourth Amendment … prohibits the police from making a warrantless and nonconsensual entry into a suspect’s home in order to make a routine felony arrest.” The fact that the arrest was beased on a misdemeanor offense (violation of a child support order) makes the warrantless arrest of the girlfreind even more egregious.

In my estimation, there is a probable violation of the 4th Amendment if the facts you have alleged are correct.

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