Warrant – When The Police Don’t Knock
A Woodway man was arrested earlier this week after the local SWAT team executed a “no-knock” search at his home, reports the Waco Tribune. Mark Chernoff, 31, was suspected of engaging in illegal narcotic manufacturing and was found in the home along with syringes and around 50 pills. The authorities did not knock when executing the search because Chernoff already has previous convictions and is known to own firearms. Chernoff was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance.
As is often popularized by television and crime novels, the idea that police cannot enter your property without first obtaining a warrant is fairly well known. In order for police to conduct a search, they must obtain a valid warrant.
A warrant is valid if it:
- Specifies the premise to be searched (vehicle, home, person, etc. and indicates the physical address of the premise to be searched as well as a description of the premise);
- Is based on probable cause; and
- Is signed by a judge.
In Texas, as a general rule, when executing a search for a property, officers must first knock at the door and announce their presence and the specific purpose for being at the property.
What is a No-Knock Search Warrant?
No-knock warrants are special exceptions to the general rule where officers are not required to first knock and announce their presence prior to entry of the premises to be searched. There are certain exigent circumstances where knocking and announcing would actually cause more harm than good, and in these limited circumstances, police may execute the search and enter a property without first knocking at the door.
Situations in which knocking would or could jeopardize the safety of the officers or other individuals, would be an exercise in futility, or would likely alert a suspect to the presence of police such that they could destroy evidence, may all be eligible exceptions to the general knock and announce search rule.
When officers have a reason to believe that executing a knock and announce warrant would trigger one of these exceptions, a knockless entry will be deemed reasonable in light of those circumstances. Even if the officers arrive on the scene and discover circumstances that are in alignment with one of the exceptions, the officers may conduct a knockless entry of the premises.
When a Search Warrant Turns Up Evidence of a Crime, Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been subjected to the execution of a search, whether knock and announce or a no-knock, and the results of the search leave you facing criminal charges, you will need to contact an experienced lawyer. The criminal defense attorneys at Giles & Giles understand the ins-and-outs of search warrants and the proper execution of those searches. We can examine your case to determine if the authorities properly executed the warrant before entering your property or home. Contact our criminal defense professionals today.