Police Follow Laws When it Comes to Search and Seizure

People have no right to resist if police officers illegally enter their home. That is the Indiana’s Supreme Court ruling which overturns centuries of common law.

Pulaski County Sheriff, Michael Gayer, says, by law, there are four ways a police officer can enter your home.

“One, there has to be a probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed or there is illegal contraband in the house,” said Sheriff Gayer. “With the probable cause, a police officer takes that to his Prosecutor and ultimately to a Judge for a search warrant and then that search warrant is then executed.”

“Secondly, a person responsible for the home can waive that search warrant and we can then enter the house with the consent of the owner.”

“Thirdly, there’s exigent circumstances which means if the police officer is driving down the road and sees flames shooting out of the windows of a house, he can go through the front door of the house to look for any potential fire victims without a probable cause, a search warrant or consent. If he’s driving down the road and hears somebody yelling, ‘Help! Help!’ from a house or a structure, he can enter that dwelling without a search warrant or without consent of the owner.”

“Lastly, there’s a fresh pursuit law. If I’m in pursuit of a vehicle or a person on foot and I observe him run into a structure, a house or building, because it’s fresh pursuit and I still have visual contact, I can still pursue him into that house or into that structure without consent of the owner or without a search warrant.”

If a police officer is not acting under these circumstances, Sheriff Gayer says a police officer can not enter the residence.

5th District State Senator Ed Charbonneau said that he will work to uphold constitutional rights provided by the 4th Amendment and help reverse the recent high court ruling on police entry by clarifying state self-defense laws in the 2012 legislative session. Charbonneau said the ruling contradicts the 4th Amendment right in the U.S. Constitution that protects Americans against unreasonable search and seizure.