When the police knocked at your door, your roommate opened the door. The police walked in, spotted some contraband and now you are under arrest. Did your roommate consent to the search?

The Fourth Amendment requires that police obtain a warrant before searching your home unless an exception to the warrant requirement exists. One exception involves the need to give emergency aid, for example, if someone inside the home is injured. The police may enter if they have a reasonable basis to connect the emergency with your home.

The police may also search if they obtain voluntary consent. The consent must be given without any coercion, expressed or implied, and must not be the result of any intimidation or deception. The court may determine whether you gave consent on the totality of the circumstances and on a case by case basis. If you open the door and say, “Check it out,” the police likely have consent for the search. If you instead slam the door shut and the officer kicks it open, then no consent was voluntarily given.

In People v Swanson. police arrived at a DUI defendant’s home when investigating a report about a disoriented person. Defendant’s wife opened the interior door but only briefly opened the storm door in order to better communicate with police. The officer then pushed open the door and entered. The wife repeatedly told officers that she and her husband did not need help. The court held that this was not voluntary consent, and thus the evidence from the search could not be used.

If you are arrested for a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An experienced attorney will review your case for its best possible defense. If the police acted illegally, an attorney may petition the court to throw out the evidence obtained from the illegal behavior. Even if the police acted lawfully and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to obtain a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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