ShouldI fight the fact that the police had reason to come inside an underage party without a warrant?

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ShouldI fight the fact that the police had reason to come inside an underage party without a warrant?

13 of my friends and myself have recently been arrested at my friends house in august for minor in possession. This is how it happened according to 2 of the officers police report: they got a call from the neighbor about an underage party. The cops looked in the window and saw alcohol and party cups and kids that looked underage. No one had alcohol in there hands the whole time. The cops knocked on the door. I answered the door. they asked if everyone was 21. I didn’t answer. They stepped in. Is it worth fighting the fact they had no right to come in? They had no warrant.

Asked on September 19, 2011 under Criminal Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is unlikely that you would be able to prevail in your claim against the police because the police had probable cause to enter the house without a warrant.  The probable cause was based on their on-scene investigation of the report from the neighbor of underage drinking.  Also, when the police looked in the window and saw alcohol, party cups, and underage kids, all of these items were in plain view which would support a finding of probable cause to enter without a warrant.  Probable cause means a reasonable belief that criminal activity (underage drinking in this case) is afoot.

Under these circumstances, the police would be able to enter the house without a warrant.  If the police were required to obtain a warrant in this case, by the time they obtained the warrant and returned, the alcohol, party cups, and underage kids would be gone. 


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