Can a police officer come into your home looking for someone if he doesn’t have a search warrant?

UPDATED: Dec 15, 2011

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Can a police officer come into your home looking for someone if he doesn’t have a search warrant?

Asked on December 15, 2011 under Criminal Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Usually, no, but there are exceptions, such as:

1) Hot pursuit--if the police followed someone they were trying to apprehend into your home;

2) Obvious criminal activity--if while in a public area the police can see a crime being committed in your home (e.g. standing in a street; for example, glancing up and seeing through an unshuttered window that someone is doing drugs), they may be able to enter;

3) To prevent imminent harm--the police  can come in without a warrant if there is good reason to think someone is in jeopardy (e.g. they hear screams or cries for help);

4) Someone who reasonably would have authority invites them in (for example, one roommate lets the officer(s) in)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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