When the Police Come Knocking

Florida law states that the police may break open a door leading into a home if:

  1.  The police have a warrant.
  2. The police announce who they are and what they want.
  3. The occupant of the home refuses to let the police enter his home after the police have waited a reasonable period of time after knocking and announcing their purpose.

There has been a great deal of litigation regarding precisely how long the police must wait after knocking and before breaking down a door to a home.

However, there are 4 exceptions to the rule that the police must wait a reasonable period of time after knocking and before breaking down someone's door.  Those exceptions are:

  1. Those inside the home already know that the police are outside, and they know what the police want; or
  2. The police reasonably believe that those inside the home are in danger of being physically harmed; or
  3. The danger to the police would increase if the police simply waited outside the door; or
  4. Those inside the home might try to escape or destroy evidence.

 As you can see, the law regarding when the police may forcibly enter your home is quite complex.  Should the police ever forcibly enter your home, it would be wise to consult with a criminal attorney in order to get his or her opinion regarding the legality of the officers' actions.

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