Exceptions To The "Knock And Announce" Rule

The "knock and announce" rule specifies a procedure police officers must follow if they want to get into your apartment. The officers must identify themselves as police officers, quote their intention, and wait for a reasonable time before getting into your house. However; there are exceptional circumstances that allow police officers to barge into your apartment without adhering to this rule. Here are three examples of these exceptions:

 Reasonable Fear of Safety

The "knock and announce" rule gives you some time to open the door, and if you don't, the police can force their way into your house. As you can see, there is a lapse between the time the police knock to the time they enter the house. The police won't follow this procedure if they believe you are using this time to prepare to attack them. For example, if an officer sees you (for example, through the window) loading a gun, they may force their way in immediately. This is because waiting endangers the lives of the officers and other people nearby.

Imminent Destruction of Evidence

Secondly, the "knock and announce" rule may not apply in situations where the police officers believe you are about to destroy evidence. Consider an example where police officers arrive at your place to collect files they believe contain incriminating evidence. Suppose the officers smell burning papers and see smoke coming out of your apartment. The officers can barge in without following the "knock and announce" rule if they believe you are burning the evidence.

"No-Knock" Warrant

In many cases, police don't make prior decisions to enter an apartment without announcing themselves first. In a few cases, however, they have prior knowledge that knocking and making their presence known and waiting before getting into the apartment is dangerous.  

In such cases, they may get a no-knock warrant, which allows them to enter your apartment without following the "knock and announce" rule. The officers must convince the resident magistrate of the need for this warrant before the no-knock warrant can be issued. For example, the magistrate may issue the warrant if you have large dogs on your property and have a history of violence.

Do you believe that police officers violated the "knock and announce" rule while entering your house? Depending on the circumstances of the case and your state's laws, you may be able to get a remedy for the violation. Courts consider these situations on a case-by-case basis, so you need to consult a lawyer, like those at Kalasnik Law Office, to determine if your situation is a true example of a violation.