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We worked with Valerie Cole and she was exceptional. She has a unique way as an attorney of being thoughtful, and yet very direct and to the point. She doesn't swing up and down, always calm and professional. She sees the big picture and it...
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I need an attorney really bad, so I called Polansky Law Firm not only did I win my case. But she explained the court procedure to me step-by-step I am so happy I picked this Law Firm. Thank you Cayce
Lisa Polansky is a terrific criminal defense attorney who brings great knowledge and experience to the job as a result of handling countless, difficult cases, both in California and in Colorado. As a Colorado lawyer, I know that Lisa is hi...
- posted: Apr. 15, 2022
In many domestic violence cases, a major issue concerns whether law enforcement had the legal authority to enter the home to investigate the alleged incident. Situations involving domestic violence are dangerous for all involved, but regardless of the risk, there is no specific domestic violence exception to the Fourth Amendment prohibition against entering someone's home without a search warrant.
The U.S. Supreme Court has, however, recognized that there must be some option that considers the particular safety risk domestic violence incidents present. Although the Fourth Amendment offers critical protections against unreasonable search and seizures, an exception can be made when it comes to protecting citizens from serious bodily injury or harm. In such cases, a warrantless search that would otherwise be considered illegal may actually be permitted.
There are several situations in which police may enter a home to investigate a domestic violence complaint, provided they have probable cause to believe a crime was or is being committed:
- Entering with a search warrant — If probable cause exists, the police can obtain a search warrant from a judge and execute it to enter the home where the disturbance is taking or has taken place.
- Consent to enter — Law enforcement is legally allowed to enter someone's home if a legal occupant consents.
- Forced entry — If the police are refused entry into the home, entering without a warrant may be lawful if the entry was justified due to emergency circumstances. In such instances, the police must have reasonable grounds to believe that there is an immediate danger to someone in the home.
The possibility of future harm is likely not enough to establish that emergency circumstances exist for the police to enter without a warrant for an alleged domestic violence incident. While 911 calls can be helpful for the police to gather information, they don't typically satisfy the standard of evidence required to fit into the emergency circumstances exception for a warrantless entry. However, these calls can still provide the police with an objective reason to believe that someone in the home required emergency assistance.
Without more cause, a report of a "domestic" incident is usually not enough to show that there was justification to enter the home without a warrant, so if the police entered your home and arrested you for domestic violence, it's crucial to have an experienced defense attorney on your side who understands the law and can fight the charges against you.
The criminal defense attorneys at Polansky Law Firm are committed to providing a skillful defense in domestic violence cases involving warrantless entries. Located in Boulder, we represent clients throughout Colorado for a wide variety of criminal defense matters. Call 303-415-2583 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.