Whether Colorado police can enter a house against a person’s will to provide emergency aid

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If you are facing criminal charges where police entered your house against your will, you will need a Colorado Criminal Lawyer to argue that the officer did not have an objectively reasonable basis for rendering emergency aid.  If you can establish that the police officer did not have an objective basis for giving aid, then the police entry should be found to be unconstitutional.  You should talk to a Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney to help you make these arguments.

The reasoning behind your argument comes from the case of Michigan v. Fisher (130 S. Ct. 546 (2009)) which deals with whether a police can enter a house against a person’s will when the police have determined that there is a need for emergency aid.

What happened in that Case:

An individual was charged with Assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

When officers responded to a complaint of a disturbance by a man “going crazy,” they observed broken windows, a damaged fence, and a truck parked in the driveway with a smashed windshield.

When the police went to the door of the house, they talked to the individual who told them to get a warrant.  They also observed that the individual was bleeding, screaming, and throwing things.  The officer entered the house anyway.  When the officer entered, the individual pointed a gun at the police officer.

The Legal Issue that the Court had to Decide:

Whether the officer’s entry was illegal or whether the officer was allowed to enter the house, against the wishes of the individual.

The Decision of the Court Regarding the Law:

The officer was allowed to enter because they officer viewed that there was an emergency.  In emergency situations, police officers may provide emergency aid.  In order to provide this assistance, the officer must have an objectively reasonable basis for believing that immediate medical assistance is needed or that persons are in danger.

How Previous Court Decisions can Affect your Case:

When a court is making decisions in your case, they will look at how other courts have decided similar issues.  As such, if the facts of your case are similar to a case in the past, you can look at the past case to get a good idea of how a court should rule in your case.

Here are some similar Colorado cases that may apply to your case:

People v. Chavez 240 P.3d 448

Case Citations:

It is important to read other cases to determine how courts are interpreting the law.  Here are some quotations from various cases that help explain the way courts understand the law and how they are making decisions.

“Officers do not need ironclad proof of `a likely serious, life-threatening’injury to invoke the emergency aid exception. ”

– in US v. Stewart, 2011

the Court explained that the “emergency aid exception” “requires only an objectively reasonable basis for believing that a person within the house is in need of immediate aid.”

– in DER v. Connolly, 2012

“[L] aw enforcement officers `may enter a home without a warrant to render emergency assistance to an injured occupant or to protect an occupant from imminent injury.'”

– in Johnson v. City of Memphis, 2010

“This `emergency aid exception’does not depend on the officers’ subjective intent*** when the emergency arises.*** It requires only `an objectively reasonable basis for believing,’*** that `a person within [the house] is in need of immediate aid.’***. ”

– in State v. Minear, 2010

In short, we find it as plain here as we did in Brigham City that the officer’s entry was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

– in James v. Chavez, 2011

“the police arrived at Fisher’s house to find a household in considerable chaos: a pickup truck in the driveway with its front smashed, damaged fenceposts along the side of the property, and three broken house windows, the glass still on the ground outside.”

– in US v. Martinez, 2010

“Yet even were a court to treat the urbanization barrier as a seizure, ” `the ultimate touchstone of the Fourth Amendment,'[the Supreme Court has] often said, `is reasonableness,'”

– in WATCHTOWER BIBLE v. Sagardía De Jesús, 2011

“the officers responded to a complaint of a disturbance and were directed to a residence where a man was” going crazy.”

– in US v. Bartlett, 2011

“Although the more dated cases cited by the majority import a probable cause requirement into the exigent circumstances analysis, Brigham City, Huffman and other more recent cases discussing exigent circumstances do not.”

– in Huff v. City of Burbank, 2011

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

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Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca