Question: Can Officer Lie To Gain Entry Into Your Home?
Under the 4th Amendment, searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable. Physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the 4th Amendment is directed. Warrantless arrest of a person requires both probable cause and exigent circumstances…that make it impracticable to obtain a warrant first. Even if the officer’s purpose for entering the home is to arrest that person, the officer is still required to obtain an arrest warrant before entering the residence, unless it is a hot pursuit or the crime is committed in the officer’s presence. Further, opening a door to ascertain the purpose of an interruption to the private enjoyment of a home is not an invitation to enter, but rather is a common courtesy of civilized society. Attendant to this courtesy is the ability to exclude those who are knocking and preserve the integrity of the physical boundaries of the home. This is particularly true where an intervening screen/storm door remains closed. Simply opening the door to answer an officer’s knock, when that person stands behind a closed screen door to speak to the officer is not enough for entry by an officer. If the person never crosses the threshold of the residence and expressly denies the officer entry into the home, the officer must obtain a warrant for arrest and can’t lie to enter the residence to arrest that person.