In June, the Supreme Court Of The United States issued a ruling that marks a very important step in criminal defense. Essentially, the court decided that the factors surrounding each case will determine what law enforcement officers can or cannot do when pursuing someone for a misdemeanor offense.
What was the ruling?
The Supreme Court decided that if a person who is suspected of committing a misdemeanor is being pursued by police, the police do not have the right to follow them home without a warrant. At the same time, the court stated that all cases are different, and the circumstances of each can determine whether an emergency makes it permissible to follow a suspect home without a warrant.
What prompted the exception decision by the Supreme Court?
The exception for emergencies came about as a result of the case of a California man who had a conviction for driving under the influence in 2016. He was driving home when a police officer began following him because the man was playing music very loudly in his car thus disturbing the peace. The police officer followed the man to his home and into his garage, where he detected the odor of alcohol. After the man was taken to a hospital for a blood test to determine his blood alcohol concentration, it was revealed to be 0.245, which is three times higher than the legal limit of 0.08.
The man contested his conviction and claimed in his defense that the police officer violated his Fourth Amendment rights by following him into his garage with no warrant. The court subsequently rejected that claim, and the case went on to the Supreme Court.
Protecting your constitutional rights
An attorney may be able to assist you if you face misdemeanor charges after an arresting officer entered your property without a warrant. Your attorney may help you prepare your lawsuit to protect your rights.