A warrant allows Michigan police officers to enter your premises. For years, criminal defense attorneys argued that these warrants sometimes had too much breadth. Moreover, there was a need to clarify when the police need a warrant.
The Supreme Court weighs in on warrants in pursuits
Let’s say you commit a minor offense. The police see you and signal you to stop. However, you don’t see them, and the officers follow you to your home. The Supreme Court now says that officers may need a warrant before following you to your home.
The important aspect of this ruling is that the minor offense doesn’t constitute an emergency. Therefore, the police have some leeway to argue that an emergency could be at hand.
Could the absence of a warrant be a criminal defense?
Emergencies the officer might cite include the threat of violence, escape, or destruction of property. The justices pointed out that an officer should first evaluate if they have time to apply for a warrant to apprehend you properly. The goal is to protect your rights in spite of possible criminal charges that may require the services of a criminal defense attorney.
Therefore, an officer can no longer claim to be in “hot pursuit” and justify following you into your home –- if your infraction was minor. Moreover, an officer can no longer justify your flight as the reason for entering your premises. Instead, the initial infraction must guide the decision.
It gets confusing when you have strong emotions. Did the officer act according to the law? Does their exercise of an entry without a warrant constitute an emergency? To find out how the facts apply to your individual case, it might be a good idea to spend an hour with an attorney to discuss the situation.