When can a Police Officer execute an Arrest Warrant in Colorado

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If you have a warrant out for your arrest, you may be wondering when a police officer is going to try to arrest you. This is a common and reasonable concern. Fortunately, there are some guidelines about when the police officer can and cannot try to arrest you. Typically, the officer can arrest you during normal times when the officer has reason to believe you will be at the location specified in the warrant. Of course, police are known for trying to arrest people in the morning before work (just in time to cost the person their job) or at other inconvenient times (like dinner, in front of guests). Also, if you are pulled over, and you have an active warrant, expect to get arrested.
Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals heard a case where a person was arrested in a home late at night. The officer who did the arrest had a warrant but there were no facts to support the proposition that the person was in the house. First, it was late at night with no signs of activity in the house. The person’s car was not in the driveway or near the house. There were no observable facts indicating the person was at the home. Additionally, the police officer had knowledge that the person was only at that particular home on certain days and times (in other words, it wasn’t a residence where he was always expected to sleep). When the officer was at the home, he decided to go into the person’s yard and start looking through the windows. Between the blinds, he saw the person in the living room of the house with a gun. The Court of Appeals, upon hearing these facts, decided that the officer had gone beyond the scope of the warrant and that he had unlawfully executed the arrest warrant. As such, everything that the officer saw got suppressed and thrown out of court.
Now, it is important to note that the case that the Court of Appeals heard was very fact intensive. Had there been facts to differentiate that case, it is likely that the Court of Appeals would have ruled differently. It is also extremely likely that a trial court will make every effort to distinguish the facts in a case from the facts in the case that the Court of Appeals heard. As an example, if the police officer had knowledge that the home was the defendant’s residence, the Court of Appeals may have found that the search was lawful. Or, for example, if the police officer saw the person’s car near the house or had other information that increased the likelihood that the person was in the house, the Court may have found the police officer’s actions to be lawful.
Because the court is required to split hairs to determine whether a police officer’s actions are lawful or unlawful, it is important to talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney about your case in Colorado. These distinctions are best argued by a lawyer who has had an opportunity to look at all of the facts and discuss them with you in order to determine whether your situation is one where the officer acted lawfully or unlawfully. This will give you greater perspective on your case and allow you to make a better decision about what you want to do with your case.
If you have any questions about your case or how the law may apply to your case, feel free to contact Mountain Legal to discuss your situation in more depth.

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