In general, most people are aware that the police need to have a warrant in order to search you and your premises. In that instance, information that the police acquire, or information, property seized, must be suppressed and cannot be used in the event of a trial. However, there are several instances where a police officer does not require a warrant.
There are several types of warrantless police intrusions. Information gathered that may lead to a greater intrusion. This means that when an initially proper police search leads to the discovery of additional information, that information may justify for the police to escalate their search to a greater intrusion, without a warrant.
In the event of a public safety issue, there is also the “emergency” doctrine. A warrantless search is justified if the police have reasonable grounds to believe an emergency exists. For example, if the police hear someone screaming inside of a building, that may enter the building to assist the screaming individual. This sort of warrantless search isn’t motived to arrest and seize evidence. If there is some basis or approximating reasonable causes associated with the emergency with the area to be searched.
When there is criminal conduct after an illegal stop, a warrantless search may also be permitted. Usually, when a stop is improper at the outset, any further actions taken by the police as a direct result of that stop are also illegal and improper. However, if the police make an illegal stop, and the defendant thereafter commits a new crime, the search resulting after that new crime, will not be deemed improper. Even though the initial act was unconstitutional, the defendant’s subsequent crime after the stop makes the search constitutional and proper.
Police are also able to request information from an individual provided that they have an objective, and there is a credible and reasonable reason to approach. For example, the police may ask for an identity, address, or destination. If the defendant gives chase, hiding a property that gives police reason to believe is personal property; this may rise to the level of permissible police intrusion. The police may not use this as route to push to the next level of intrusion with inappropriate questioning. The police inquiry must be made in the most general nature and in a nonthreatening manner.
An anonymous tip may also lead the police to your door without a warrant. In the event the police receive an anonymous tip that provides general information, they may have the right to inquire. The inability to account for false reports renders anonymous tips the weakest sort of information. The right to inquire is the least intrusive sort of police intrusion. The police may forcibly pursue and/or stop an individual if the police have information that there is a probable cause necessary for an arrest. This probably cause arises when the police have “reasonable suspicion” that a crime has been or is about to be committed. Reasonable suspicion is defined as knowledge sufficient to cause an ordinary, prudent, and cautious person to believe that under the circumstances that there is criminal activity at hand.
A forcible stop is followed by a frisk. The right to stop and first a suspect/defendant is called a “terry” stop. It is codified CPL 140.50. In certain instances the defendant or suspects flight from the police in a high crime area is sufficient to for the police to justify a stop and frisk. A frisk occurs when the person that is stopped is searched for a weapon. A police officer takes certain actions for safety reasons during tis type of search. For example, the officer may handcuff the individual.
NYC Criminal Lawyers with Joseph Potashnik and Associated have successfully represented thousands of clients who were investigated and or arrested for all sorts of crimes in New York City. If you have been charged with a crime, call us today to set up your consultation.