Can Randolph criminal defense attorneys explain when an officer may knock on the back door of a house? Of course!
The court appeals has recently just decided a case that dealt with officers kicking on the back door of someone’s private home. In this case, the officers received a phone call saying that someone at a specific residence was growing marijuana plants along with their tomato plants. The officers then decided to do a knock-and-talk, where they would knock on the front door and attempt to talk to the resident. After they knocked on the front door and received no response, the officers provided to go to the backdoor even though there as no path or indication that the backdoor was regularly used. On their way to the back door, the officers found marijuana plants in the open and subsequently charged the resident with drug offenses.
The question in this case was whether the officers rightfully entered the backyard to perform the knock-and-talk. The NC court of appeals said that they did not. Although there was no in-state authority on this specific issue. The court used rules from other cases within the Fourth Circuit to make its decision. One of the rules determined that entering the backyard may be permissible if circumstances indicate that they may find the homeowner there. A second rule said that if the officer thinks that knocking on the back door will produce a different response, then it may be permissible as well.
The NC court of appeals distinguished the case form both of the rules by saying there was nothing that indicated knowing on the back door would produce a different response, as knocking on the front door and not receiving a response indicated that no one was home. Further, the homeowner had posted “no trespassing” signs on the back gate of the house. Therefore, the homeowner did not intend for anyone to go in their back yard. Thus, the court said that the officers had violated the homeowner’s reasonable expectation of privacy.
If you think that your reasonable expectation of privacy has been violation in anyway, do not hesitate to contact a Randolph criminal defense lawyer today. Laws can be applied differently on a case-by-case basis, and your case may be subject to an exception. The Randolph criminal defense attorneys at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth and Olson know the requirements of the law and also genuinely care about each and every case presented by their clients. Call 335-379-0539 today; we are here to help!