Can police legally break down my door and enter my home with a warrant for someone who has never lived there?

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Can police legally break down my door and enter my home with a warrant for someone who has never lived there?

Police used a battering ram to enter our home, without knocking first, with a warrant for someone who is an acquaintance of ours.

Asked on August 2, 2011 Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the circumstances. Generally speaking, police need a warrant to enter a home. However, there are exceptions based on public safety (e.g. the police believe there is a crime in progress, a hostage situation, an injured person, a bomb, etc.), on being able to see a crime or criminal activity from a public area (e.g. a policeman passing buy can see an illegal-looking gun or drug paraphenalia through your window), on hot pursuit (they think a criminal they were chasing ran into your home), and on other exigent, or urgent/emergency circumstancs. If the police were therefore given reasonable grounds to think that a threat of some kind was in your home and there was no time to seek a warrant, this *may* be legal--it depends on the circumstances.


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