Can the police shine a flashlight in my house windows without a warrant?

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Can the police shine a flashlight in my house windows without a warrant?

My daughter was a suspect in a criminal case. An officer came to my house at 12:30 am. The house was in darkness and my daughter was not there. When I didn’t answer the door (I actually called 911 on him), he began shining a light in my house windows. Is this a violation of the 4th amendment?

Asked on August 14, 2011 Maine

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Merely shining a flashlight in a person's home by a law enforcement officer does not amount in an of itself to a Fourth Amendment violation of one's Constitutional Rights in that a view though open windows of one's home of what can be plainly seen through illumination has been allowed my many appellate court cases in this country.

Additionally, if the law enforcement officer was responding to an emergency situation where there was danger to life, the protections under our Constitution's Fourth Amendment has been relaxed to allow less restrictions as to unreasonable searches and seizures.

If your windows shades were open in your darkened home, the officer's response at 12:30 in the morning where your daughter was a suspect in a criminal matter and the shining of a flashlight into your windows to view what could be in plain sight was not a violation of your Constitutional Rights under our Fourth Amendment.

 


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