Police may enter Californians’ homes without warrants to arrest those suspected of driving under the influence, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a case testing the scope of the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
The 6-1 decision follows similar rulings in about a dozen other states. A dissenting justice said the majority handed authorities a “free pass” to unlawfully enter private homes and arrest people without warrants.
Under the Fourth Amendment, authorities are prohibited from entering a home and making an arrest without a warrant unless so-called “exigent” circumstances are present. Those include “hot pursuit” of a fleeing felon, imminent destruction of evidence and the risk of danger to the police or other persons inside or outside of a house, among others.
In this case, Justice Marvin Baxter wrote that the loss of evidence at issue was obtaining a measurement of the suspect’s blood-alcohol level. Baxter added that a contrary ruling would allow “the corruption of evidence that occurs when the suspect takes advantage of any delay to ingest more alcohol — or to claim to have done so — or when the suspect evades police capture until he or she is no longer intoxicated.”
Baxter and the majority was cautious in saying the decision would not give police carte blanche powers.
This should scare the hell out of anyone with half a brain. Welcome to the modern Nanny state- “Just like the STASI, But You Are Safer And We CARE!”