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  • 5.0/5.0

    It was a pleasure working with Josiah and Polanski Law firm. During the first consult, Josiah demonstrated a level of assertiveness, understanding, and creativity that reassured me that my case was in capable hands. Josiah was also incredib...
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    — Client

  • 5.0/5.0

    I was referred to Polansky Law and couldn't have been happier with the legal services offered. Josiah was an excellent attorney to work with, always responsive and communicative and willing to step up for individual's defense. He had a thor...
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  • 5.0/5.0

    I highly recommend Josiah Cohen to anyone looking for a criminal lawyer. He was attentive to my needs, explained how everything worked, and provided me with various options to consider. Throughout the process, he was always available to ans...
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    — Client

  • 5.0/5.0

    I am thrilled to write this 5-star review for Lisa Polanski, the incredible attorney who represented me during a challenging legal situation. From the moment I hired Lisa, her professionalism, dedication, and expertise were evident, and I a...
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    — Client

  • 5.0/5.0

    By far the best results I could have gotten! Josiah Cohen was there for me from the minute I spoke on the phone with him in reference to my legal issues. The day after I had first spoke with Mr. Cohen I called to ask a couple quick ques...
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    — Client

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.