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 Message Boards » » Police on property Q for cop/lawyer Page [1]  
Jax883
All American
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Backstory:
A couple of weeks ago, I RTS'd a letter from the county courts that looked like some kind of summons. I wrote something to the effect of the named person not living here and that we bought the house in 2014.

Tonight 10pm-ish, a Sheriff's deputy pulled up to our house. My garage door was open, I ducked inside to tell my wife a cop was walking up and to not let the dogs bark. When I opened the front door, no one was there but the car was still out front. So I walked back to the garage and opened the door to the officer standing in my garage. He addressed me by the name on the envelope from the letter, and as I walked him out I said all the parts about the letter and how long we'd owned the house above. He thanked me and left. Whole conversation was prolly less than 2 minutes.

He was courteous, and I made a decision on the spot to not be a dick to a guy doing his job (he had to have had some sort of warrant related to that letter). But I am pissed that I opened the door to my garage and find this officer standing inside my house.

I can't really find what I'm looking for in NCGS search. Is there a statute that defines what part of a private residence is and isn't ok to be in? Does acting to serve a warrant allow for some entries? What lets a cop come into a garage (an open door? what about a screen porch door? What happens if the front door to your house is open?)?

I'm having faith that he had a legally valid reason to be where he was and I'd like to see it. Trust but verify and all that. Some crazy shit. I haven't had a cop show up to a house I was living in -let alone at night- since the heady days of Avent Ferry.

5/1/2017 11:33:03 PM

TreeTwista10
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I think legally they can come in if the door is open and/or unlocked.

5/1/2017 11:54:45 PM

tchenku
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UPS and Fedex will drop stuff off in the garage if it's open

5/2/2017 10:51:01 AM

Ultraspank
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There are a few ways and circumstances that it could go depending on the situation.

A criminal summons or an arrest warrant is enough to search a home for a person if the officer reasonably believes him/her to be inside.

So for example, if Jon Smith has a warrant/summons and the officer sees a person who could be Jon Smith (similar age/race etc), until the Officer identifies the person he/she could reasonably believe that to be Jon Smith.

B. Officer walks up to the house and he/she sees who they know to be Jon Smith run in and lock the door, legally they can enter the home to search/arrest Jon Smith. This also means that the address on the warrant/summons is this residence, doesn't apply to other residences.

^ Most departments/police attorneys still say in that case you should get a search warrant for Jon Smith.

Common situation: mom's kid is a criminal who comes and goes from mom's house. He has a warrant and the address on the warrant is mom's house. Cops can come and get permission to search the house (consent), or if they reasonably think he's hiding inside (by facts IE you saw him) they can make entry.

Hopefully that makes sense, every situation is going to be dependent on facts as in what the warrant says, what the officer believes or sees, and even departmental policy.

5/2/2017 10:54:59 AM

Fumbler
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^correct

I'd also add, cops, without a warrant, can only knock on the front door unless it's obvious to a reasonable person that you use another door. For instance, if they walk up to the front door and see cobwebs all over the door frame then it's reasonable for them to think you don't use the front door; it'd then be perfectly legal to walk to the side or rear door and knock. Or, if the last time a cop went to a house and knocked on the front door, the resident told them to go to the side door. It'd be reasonable for the cop to head straight to the side door the next time. If they saw you inside the garage with the bay door open, it'd be reasonable to think you must use the garage door and it'd be ok to walk up the that entrance so long as he went straight from the bay door to the residence door.

5/2/2017 2:55:01 PM

Jax883
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^ , ^^ both helpful, thanks. As I was in my garage and did go inside briefly, I could see why the officer went in that way.

5/2/2017 4:46:01 PM

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