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Supreme Court considers warrantless search issue

On Behalf of | Oct 23, 2020 | Blog, Criminal Defense

The United States Supreme Court agreed to consider whether a police officer’s belief that a person committed a misdemeanor crime is sufficient to support a warrantless entry into the home. Legal professionals in Texas and throughout the country are interested in the opinion of the nation’s highest court.

The aspect of criminal law that is the subject of the arguments began with a California motorist who was playing loud music while driving to his home. A police officer observed the man honking his horn and began to follow him. The officer did not use his lights or siren but followed the motorist with the intent to make a traffic stop.

The officer turned on his lights after the garage door on the driver’s home began to rise. The driver drove into the garage, but the officer, who had already exited his vehicle, placed his foot under the garage door so that it would not close. The officer then used the garage to enter the home.

The officer asked for a driver’s license and registration after informing the man that he detected the presence of alcohol on his breath. The subsequent arrest was for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The man’s legal representation tried to have the evidence resulting from the warrantless entry into the home suppressed. When these attempts were unsuccessful, the accused man pleaded no contest to the charges.

The California Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction. The state court considered that the man drove 100 feet to enter the garage after the officer activated the lights on his patrol car. The opinion of the court is that this action constitutes a flight-related offense that made it allowable for the officer to enter the home. The appellant argues that there was no pursuit in progress, and the officer’s actions violated regulations that prevent the search of a home without a search warrant.

Individuals accused of criminal offenses may need to act fast to protect their rights and prevent further damage to their lives. People who have questions about mounting a defense in response to criminal allegations may be able to improve their chances of a successful outcome by speaking with a criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible.