Can the Police Enter My Home Without a Warrant? Hot Pursuit Exception

The Fourth Amendment says that the police can’t enter your home without a warrant… but there are exceptions to this rule.  This article will examine the “Hot Pursuit” exception to the warrant requirement.  

Imagine this scenario: You’re going about your business, minding your affairs, when suddenly, the police come heading for your door. But here’s the kicker – they’re not just knocking; they’re chasing someone, and that someone happens to duck into your home. Or, the way it more commonly happens, imagine that you decide to run from the police and you head for the house thinking that you’re safe there.

That is where the hot pursuit exception comes into play. In a nutshell, it allows law enforcement officers to skip the usual requirement of obtaining a warrant before entering a private residence if they’re in hot pursuit of a suspect. Sounds crazy, right? Well, it is.  Because the police can charge right into your home if they chase a suspect. And anything they find in your home becomes fair game for a new charge.

But what about your rights, you might ask? Even in the midst of a hot pursuit, you still have rights. It’s crucial to remember that law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion to initiate the pursuit in the first place, and they are supposed to adhere to certain guidelines to ensure that your rights are respected throughout the process.

For example, they can’t just barge into any old residence. There has to be a genuine belief that the suspect is inside, and they must act immediately to apprehend them. Additionally, they’re not allowed to use excessive force or cause undue harm to innocent bystanders in the process.

We represented an individual who wasn’t even home when the police crawled into a window to catch someone they believed was hiding out inside.  (Obviously, we had a full hearing and argued that this was a false pretext to get into the house.  It seemed a little suspicious to us that nobody was actually hiding out inside!). When the police got into the house, they found a large amount of controlled substances, and when our client walked in he was immediately arrested.  This exception to the rule feels very unfair.  So why does it exist as an exception to the warrant rule?

The Courts have ruled that, in certain urgent situations, such as when a suspect is fleeing the scene of a crime or hiding out in a private residence, getting a warrant may not be feasible or practical.  Also, this exception aims to prevent suspects from evading capture and continuing to engage in criminal activity, thus safeguarding public safety.  The goal of the judge is to balance the Fourth Amendment rights of the defendant against these public policy goals.  

Long story short- if the police charged into your home without a warrant, you need a lawyer that will be able to argue that your rights were violated and that this balance between Fourth Amendment and public policy has been trampled on.  At Manosh Payette Criminal Defense Attorneys, we have the experience and we have the fight that you will need to take on the police.  

Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm – Manosh Payette Criminal Defense Attorneys

For more information, please contact the Providence criminal defense law firm of Manosh Payette Criminal Defense Attorneys for a free consultation, give us a call at (401) 854-7794, or visit our convenient location:

Manosh Payette Criminal Defense Attorneys – Providence Criminal Defense Attorney
101 Dyer St Suite 2D, Providence, RI 02903, United States