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Brooklyn Illegal Search and Seizure Attorney

Have You Been the Victim of Unlawful Search of Your Home?

You have a right to privacy. You have a right to close the door of your home and be left alone by intruders, including the police. It is a right at the very core of the Constitution. The police may enter your home only under very limited circumstances.

1. If they have your consent to enter: If police officers come to your door and ask to be let in and you let them in, it is not illegal for them to enter. However, police officers may not coerce your consent. For example, if an officer comes to your door and threatens to arrest you unless you let him in, or threatens to call ACS to take your children, or acts loud and threatening so you let him in, you have not really “consented.” You let them in under threat. If the officers have coerced your consent, and you allow them in, you may be able to bring a claim against them for illegal entry into your home.

2. The police have a search warrant: If police officers have a valid search warrant that particularly describes your home, the police may enter without your permission. If the warrant does not particularly identify your home, the police have no right to enter. For example, if you live in a three-unit building and the search warrant does not identify which apartment can be entered, the police may not enter and search all the apartments. They must withdraw and obtain a warrant identifying the specific apartment at the address.

3. The police have an arrest warrant: If the police have a valid arrest warrant and they have a reasonable belief that the person named in the warrant lives in your home, the police may enter to capture the suspect. Police may NOT enter your home, even with an arrest warrant, if they believe that their suspect does not live in your home.

4. Contraband is in plain view: The Constitution protects us in our homes because we have a right to expect privacy and to be left alone, but if you do things that do not show that you expect privacy the police may have the right to enter your home without your permission. For example, if you leave your door open and anyone walking by can look inside your home, you cannot be said to have an expectation of privacy in the areas of your home that are in plain view. If you have contraband in plain view, the police may enter your home without your consent to seize the contraband and conduct a search.

5. Capturing a fleeing felon: If you are unfortunate enough to have a person who has committed a serious crime run into your home to avoid the police, the police can pursue the suspect into your home for the sole purpose of capturing the felon. The police may do a “safety sweep” of your home to ensure against potential attackers. That means they can search places where a person can hide, but not in drawers.

6. Emergency situations: The police can enter your home in a legitimate emergency. If your home is on fire, for example, police and other emergency workers can enter your home without your permission.

If you believe the police have entered your home illegally, try to get as many names and badge numbers as you can. Usually, one supervisor will be leading the team, so try to get that officer’s name and/or shield number. Note the time and date and call the New York search and seizure lawyers at Stoll, Glickman & Bellina, LLP.  They can help you bring a claim for illegal search and seizure. We are not afraid to take on NYPD; we do it every day. Please contact our Brooklyn law office for a free consultation if you think your rights have been violated by an illegal search and seizure.

Know your rights — enforce your rights!