Month: March 2019

Can You Refuse a Police Officer Who Asks to Enter Your Home?


Police knock at the door and ask to come in, can you say no?

It may happen on a quiet evening, when you are  relaxing after a long day. It might happen when you have already fallen asleep. Whenever it happens, having the police knock on your door and ask to talk to you, or to come inside the home, can be startling and stressful. The question is, what are your rights in this situation? Are you allowed to ignore them? Do you have to answer their questions? If you do ignore them, will they kick in your door?

The fact is, you do not have to speak with them. You can even ignore them if you choose to. They cannot enter without a search warrant. It is not a crime to keep the door closed if the police come knocking.

Here is a listing of some of the basic rights you have if the police arrive at your home and either want to enter the home or talk to you.

To Come Into Your Home or Search it, They Will Require a Warrant

This requirement is based on the fourth amendment to the Constitution. It is quite clear that a person does not have to submit to searches and seizures unless the officer has a warrant. This means no entering, and no searching. The key is that for a police officer to get a warrant, it must be considered reasonable. If there is no warrant, and the police still enter or search your home, then that evidence cannot be used against you. However, if the police knock on your door and ask to enter, and you allow them in, then you are considered to have consented to their entry. This means that they can then search your home. The only way the police can enter a home without a warrant is if they sense there is some kind of emergency. This could mean that they have heard someone in distress, smelled fire, or seen something through a window. There is usually no good reason to let the police into your home, even if you do not have anything incriminating on the premises. You are well within your rights to ask them to return with a warrant.

You Have the Right to be Secure In Your Home

Under United States law, your home is your sanctuary. Nobody, not police, not other private citizens, can enter without your permission or without a warrant. If you decide to ignore that knock or refuse them entry, then you are well within your rights. If you are perfectly willing to talk to the police, but would rather they not enter your home, then you can go outside to speak with them. In this case, make sure to keep your door closed after you exit. If the police spot something illegal inside your home, then they can then enter to search and detain evidence.

You Don’t Even Have to Open the Door

Unless there is a warrant or the officer detects there is an emergency, you don’t have to open the door or answer any questions through the door. The fact is, if a police officer is asking to enter, then it is a good indication that they do not have the right documentation to enter and search. If you do not want to completely ignore the officer, you can politely decline their request, and state that you do not consent to a search, and you do not want to answer questions until you have consulted with your attorney.

There Are Circumstances Under Which the Police May Enter

In some cases, the police are fully within their rights to enter and search your home, even without warrant. They can enter if you give them permission, for instance. If they ask, and you allow it, then you should be prepared for any consequences. The other way they can enter is if they have reason to believe there is an emergency situation occurring inside the home. For instance, they may believe that they need to enter to prevent injury or worse to someone inside. Police can enter if there is a hostage situation, for example.

You Do Not Have to Consent to Police

No matter what an officer says to you, you are within your rights to refuse their requests to enter without a search warrant. Some officers may try to deceive you by suggesting that you could be arrested for refusing them, but that is only a way of trying to get your consent. For whatever reason, they have either been unsuccessful or have not taken the time to obtain a search warrant. Even if you are a completely law-abiding citizen, there is no benefit to allowing the police into your home without a search warrant. There may be something in your home that is illegal that you are either unaware is illegal or are unaware is in your home. Your teenager may have a controlled substance in their room, for instance. If you have allowed the police into your home, then it is perfectly legal for them to seize the drugs and arrest your teenager. There is simply no benefit to allowing the police into your home if they do not have a warrant. If you want to speak with them, then step outside or suggest that you will speak to them at the station.

Know Your Right

Knowing your rights is very important in a free society, and it is also important to understand how to exercise those rights. Remember, the police are doing their jobs to protect the citizens, but they also have to follow the law and respect your rights. If you are in a situation where you believe you are being charged with a crime due to an illegal search, then contact an experienced attorney to help.

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Can You Be Subject to a DUI Charge From Prescription Drugs?


Can You Be Subject to a DUI Charge From Prescription Drugs?

When most people think of driving under the influence, they think of alcohol. However, there is a reason that the charge is “under the influence” and does not have the word alcohol in it. Drugs can also affect a person’s ability to drive. This includes prescription medications. Even if you use prescription medications properly in terms of dosage, they can still impair your ability to drive. Drugs can affect how well you react and how well you make decisions, and as such, you can be charged with a DUI even if you are legally ingesting prescribed medications.

 

Prescription Medications That Can Impair Your Driving

If you look at a medication insert, you will see a long list of possible side effects. These can include things like drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, mood swings, and other effects that could alter your mindset while driving. Of course, these effects will be different between every individual who takes the medication. What may cause impairment in one person may not cause it in another. These effects may also be worse if the user is taking more than one medication. Be extra careful if you are taking any type of sleeping pill, antihistamine, decongestant, antidepressants, opioids, and anti-anxiety medication. All of these medications are known for having side effects that can severely impair a person’s ability to drive.

 

How Police Catch Drivers Under the Influence

It’s one thing to pull someone over if they are driving erratically, it’s quite another to prove that they are impaired. Oftentimes the police will pull someone over if they feel they might be DUI. It could be that they witness poor driving, or someone could have reported it. After talking with you to get an idea of your state of mind, the officer will then have to conduct a field sobriety test. They could administer a breath test, or a Standardized Field Sobriety Test. If you do not have a blood alcohol level above the legal limits, then the officer may have to request a drug recognition expert to assess the situation. At this point, the expert will administer a urine test and a blood test. The results for these tests can sometimes take a few weeks, so you may not be charged with a DUI until well after the incident.

 

Unlike alcohol, some prescription medications can stay in the bloodstream for up to several weeks. This can make it especially hard to determine if a driver is impaired when they are stopped. This is the reason why drug recognition experts are used. They have the expertise and the testing experience to be able to accurately gauge whether a driver is impaired by medications when they are stopped. At the time of the arrest, they will do their best to predict what medication or drug you are on. If the test results come back positive, then they will be an important part of the prosecution, and will most likely provide testimony if the case goes to court. While they can be part of the prosecution, they can also declare the innocence of a driver if they determine they were not under the influence of a drug. If they do find that you were under the influence, then you can face a DUI charge, and the penalties that go along with a conviction.

 

Do You Have to Submit To a Blood or Urine Test?

Under California law, it is mandatory to take a drug test or a breath test after an arrest for a DUI. There is no urine test for alcohol but it may be administered for a suspected drug impairment. The police are required to offer a choice between a blood test or a urine test for drug impairment, but they often do not, and simply offer the blood test. The officer will state “please take this blood test” and then administer it. If you refuse a drug test, there may be a penalty from the DMV, such as the loss of your license for a year. For this to happen, the police will have to prove that it was a valid arrest in the first place. If it was not a valid arrest, then you are under no obligation to submit to the testing. It’s exceptionally difficult and risky to prove that an arrest was not valid, but it could have been if the police did not have probable cause or entrapped you in some way.

 

When it comes to drunk driving, there are many public safety initiatives and advertisements to warn against it. However, with prescription drugs, there is not as much awareness, and many drivers are caught off guard and arrested. Make sure that you are always safe when taking prescription medications and sure that you are not opening yourself up to a DUI charge.

 

As with any crime, if you are charged with a DUI, it is imperative that you secure the services of a reputable and experienced attorney. They will help you mount the best possible defense and help you get your best outcome.

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