A standard arrest warrant is when a judge allows the authorities to arrest and/or detain someone suspected of committing a crime. Arrest warrants can also be used to search and seize a person’s property. In the US, police must have either an arrest warrant issued by a judge on behalf of the state or, with certain crimes, probable cause to arrest an individual.
A Ramey warrant is different because it is an arrest warrant issued by a judge on behalf of the state before the prosecutor has filed official charges against the suspected criminal. To formally request a Ramey warrant, a police officer who dealt with the crime scene must propose a declaration of probable cause to a judge or magistrate. From there, it is left up to the judge’s decision as to whether or not the suspect needs to be arrested and brought in for questioning.
When and Why Are Ramey Warrants Requested?
Ramey warrants are usually requested from police officers to judges on the weekends or after business hours on weekdays. Requests are not submitted during business hours because sometimes police officers want an arrest warrant before the prosecutors can even have the chance to file formal charges and that usually happens during business hours.
If a judge approves of a Ramey warrant, the police officer can apprehend the suspect with a speedy arrest. Quick arrests can lead to legal entry to their residence, confessions from the suspect, police lineups, and additional evidence to strengthen the case. This is why a police officer would request a Ramey warrant, and a judge would approve of one.
For a free legal consultation, call (310) 896-2723
What Happens When the Suspect Does Not Open the Door?
When the suspect knowingly does not open the door to a police officer with a warrant, then the officers can utilize the knock-and-announce rule. This is permitted to them under California Penal Code 844, which states that an officer with an arrest warrant has full authorization to break down the door or window as long as they have announced their presence and purpose. The officers must also wait a reasonable amount of time before they break open the door or window to allow the suspect to answer them.
There are exceptions to the knock-and-announce rule under California’s search and seizure laws. These exceptions include:
- The consent of a resident
- The execution of the warrant is in a public place
- There are exigent circumstances (when the judge deems the circumstances of the crime require unusual and immediate action)
If any of these three factors are at play, then a knock-and-announce rule and officers breaking into your household are not allowed.
What Exactly Are Exigent Circumstances?
The two keywords that describe exigent circumstances are unusual and immediate. Exigent circumstances can be an exception to the Fourth Amendment, where police officers must have a legally obtained warrant before they search and seize someone’s property. There is no overarching test to prove that there are or are not exigent circumstances.
Therefore, it is left up to the judge’s discretion. Some examples of factors that serve as a basis for exigent circumstances include:
- Evidence for probable cause
- Risk of the destruction of evidence
- An impracticability of obtaining a search warrant
- A suspect was armed with a weapon and planned on escaping
- A need to provide emergency aid to a victim of the suspect’s
Click to contact our Criminal Defense Lawyers today
What if No One Is Home to Answer?
Often people assume that if the suspect does not answer the door for the police, it means they must be hiding or trying to escape through the back, but this is not always true. Sometimes when the authorities come knocking on people’s doors with search warrants and arrest warrants, the suspect they are looking for is nowhere to be found because they are not currently at home. If the police officers know that their suspect is not at home, they can either leave to find them if it is an arrest warrant, or they can break into their household without having to perform the knock-and-announce rule if it is a search warrant for their property.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
What Is a Reasonable Amount of Time?
After the police officers perform the knock-and-announce rule, they must have a reasonable amount of time before breaking down the door for entry. However, it can be confusing to figure out the legal definition of a reasonable amount of time. This is why the courts look at the situation and the facts of the case or determine a reasonable amount of time.
Some of the factors that help them decide include:
- The size of the building
- The layout of the building
- The time of day
- The suspected offense
- The type of evidence found in the search warrant
- Any other noteworthy details that would make police think that they need to enter quickly
For example, a huge house would constitute a longer wait time in order to give the residents time to head to the front door and open it. If the police knock on the door at midnight, they might wait a little longer to break in since the tenants might be sleeping and have difficulty hearing the knocking and shouting. If an individual is suspected of murder and they are threatening other people inside the house, then the police might just break in immediately for the protection of those in harm’s way.
What Constitutes an Illegal Search and Seizure?
If a police officer breaks into your place for a search and seizure and does not have an official warrant, then that violates your Fourth Amendment rights. If police officers have a warrant issued from a judge yet do not properly conduct the knock-and-announce rule, this is also illegal, and they can face serious charges for this. According to California state law, any evidence obtained from an illegal search and seizure will be strictly prohibited from being used in court.