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The answer to that question is complex, depending on whether there is a warrant for your arrest, and if there is exigent circumstances.  If you have been arrested you need experienced criminal defense help.  As an Adunct Criminology Instructor, former Probation Officer, and an Attorney with more than 13 years of criminal defense experience I can help you with your criminal defense questions.

In most circumstances the police need a warrant to enter  your home even if they have a warrant for  your arrest.  However, there is several exceptions to this.



If the police are in hot pursuet of a person suspected of a Felon the police may follow the person into the home to make an arrest.  They may even break a door or a window in order to gain access to the home, however, the police must be acting reasonably.

Also, threre is what is commonly referred to as the plain veiw doctrine which states that if the police have a legal right to be in the place where they are standing and if there  is something within plain view meaning they don't have to conduct an investigation to ascertain if it is illegal, they may seize that item. 




Exigent circumstances means an emergency.  The destrution of evidence.  Or the person may be arming themselves with a weapon, or someoene may be in danger the police may enter the home to deal with the emergency. 



This is a section of law  I often see Attorneys, deal with completely wrong, and is sometimes reaises complicated issues of law.

California Penal Code section 844 states "to make an arrest, a private person, if the offense is a Felony, and in all cases a Peace Officer, may break open the door or window of the house in which the person to be arrested is, or in which they have reasonable grounds for believing the person to be, after having demanded admittance and explained the purpose for wich admittance is desired.  (CA Penal Code 844)

The meaning of this statute is that the Police to make an arrest for a Felony may break a door or a window to arrest a person if they have reasonable grounds to believe the person is in the home However, they must first knock and announce there presence and demand the person come to the door wait for him and then enter to arrest the person.


Knock and announce

This knocking and announcing is what is currently referred to as knock and announce. 


The courts in decisions like people v jacobs have held that the police must have reasonable grounds to believe the person to be arrested is currently in the home.  Not that he lives there and might be home. 

The court willl look at factors such as did the officers see the person enter the home

did a neighbor see the person go inside

did the person see police and run inside

was the person to be arrested have his car outside

in Jacobs the police simply believed that the person to be arrested was inside because he was not at work the police entered the home and seized evidence that was illegal.  The court held that this was an illegal entry because the police had no ability to know if the person to be arrested was currently in the home. 

If the police illegally enter a home all evidence observed inside the home is illegally obtained.  Under what is called the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine and the evidence would be suppressed.


If you or a loved one has been arrested inside your home without a warrant call us so we can help you.   

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Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704
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Phone: 559.441.1418