Suppression issues: What are Exigent Circumstances?

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2016 | Suppression

Suppression of evidence means that the evidence is not allowed in court.  In search and seizure cases, there is one Suppression issue that arises with great frequency, and that is, when do the police not need a search warrant to enter and search my home. In this blog, we will be exploring various circumstances when the police do not need a search warrant to enter your home.  read about drug crimes Almost all of these instances involve something called exigent circumstances. Exigent circumstances are circumstances where there is something going on in the case such that the police are not required to get a search warrant. Examples of this are the destruction of evidence, safety of other people or the police are engaged in a hot pursuit of an accused.

One such exigent circumstance where the police do not need a search warrant are situations where the need for prompt police action is imperative, either because evidence sought to be preserved is likely to be destroyed or because the officer must protect himself from danger to his person by checking for concealed weapons.

One situation where this has occurred is explained by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in the case of the Commonwealth of PA vs. Anderson. Anonymous tips and suppression  In that case, police detectives, without an arrest warrant or search warrant, went to the defendant’s residence after receiving information from witnesses about a stabbing death that the defendant allegedly committed. The detectives identified themselves to the defendant’s stepfather and said that they were searching for the defendant in connection with a murder. The stepfather let the police come in and led them to a mattress that had a knife under it. The Superior Court found that the knife should not have been admitted into evidence because it had been seized by the detectives when they did not have a search warrant to enter the house. The Court found that there was no indication at all whereby the police might reasonably have believed that they were confronted with an emergency such that they didn’t have time to obtain a search warrant.

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