Can the Police Enter My Home If I’m Accused of Domestic Violence?
If you are accused of domestic violence or under suspicion for any other state crime, how you deal with the police is critical. Remember, you have a constitutional right not to speak or be compelled to incriminate yourself. The police may also not conduct an “unreasonable” search of your home, car, or other property without a warrant. But these rights are not a license to harass, abuse, or physically confront a police officer. Indeed, if you take any of those actions, you may find yourself charged with resisting arrest or a similar crime independent of the original accusation that led to your confrontation with the police in the first place.
Domestic Violence Call Leads to Charges for Attacking Police Officers
A recent Florida case illustrates the kind of trouble one can get into when failing to deal with police in a respectful manner. In this case, the defendant was originally accused of domestic violence. Two police officers arrived at the defendant’s residence. His girlfriend met the officers outside and said the defendant had “jumped on her.”
An officer, holding a flashlight, approached the door to the residence. Inside, the defendant yelled at the police to “come back with a warrant.” He refused numerous police requests to come outside and speak with the officers. At some point, the defendant “reached out and slapped the officer’s hand.” knocking the officer’s flashlight to the ground. The officer then entered the resident to arrest the defendant for committing battery against a police officer. According to court records, the defendant then violently resisted, at one point attempting “to bite one officer” while trying to strike both officers with his fist.
Prosecutors ultimately charged the defendant with four crimes, all related to the attacks on the officers rather than the original domestic violence accusation. In court, the defendant argued that all evidence in support of the charges should be suppressed because they were the result of the officers’ illegal entry into his home. As the defendant saw it, a “misdemeanor” domestic violence accusation did not justify a warrantless entry into his home, especially since the accuser was not inside the house and therefore in no immediate danger.
But as the trial judge—and later the First Florida District Court of Appeal—saw it, this was not a case where the police illegally entered the defendant’s home to gather evidence of domestic violence. Rather, the First District noted the evidence at issue here “relates to crimes [the defendant] committed against officers while they allegedly” violated the defendant’s constitutional rights. The court said such evidence—namely the officers’ testimony that the defendant attacked them—was admissible against the defendant at trial.
Speak With a Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If the police arrive at your door and want to speak with you regarding a domestic violence complaint, it is important to remain calm. You are not required to speak with police or let them in your home without a warrant. But you should not yell or attempt to intimidate the officer. And under no circumstances should you ever touch an officer or any of her equipment. As the case above demonstrates, that is the fastest way to ensure your immediate arrest.
Also remember you have the right to counsel. An experienced Miami domestic violence defense attorney can help you in dealing with police and prosecutors to make sure your rights are respected. Contact the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos today if you require immediate assistance.