Typically, a warrant is required to search inside of a home or in the area immediately surrounding and associated with a home (an area known, legally, as the curtilage of the home). However, there can be exceptions to that general rule.
One situation where a warrant is not needed to search a home is where what is known as “exigent circumstances” exist. Exigent circumstances are an exception to the warrant requirement because where they exist, the public’s interest in a timely police response to emergent and fast-developing situations outweighs the individual’s privacy interests.
In People v. Brunsting, the Colorado Supreme Court held that officer safety concerns fall within the exigent circumstances exception when the officers have an objectively reasonable basis to believe there is an immediate need to protect the lives or safety of themselves or others, and the manner and scope of the search is reasonable.
If your home or your home’s curtilage was searched by police without a warrant, contact a Denver criminal defense attorney today to discuss whether or not exigent circumstances may or may not have applied in your case.
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.