DUI Law and the Fourth Amendment: Is Your Home Your Castle?

February 10th, 2012 by DaytonDUI Leave a reply »
The Ohio Seventh District Court of Appeals bui...

The doctrine that “a man’s home is his castle” is enshrined in the Bill of Rights.  The Fourth Amendment to the United State Constitution embodies the principle and states that a home should be free from search without a warrant.  The Fourth Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause * * *.” Furthermore, in United States v. United States Dist. Court for the E. Dist. of Michigan (1972) 407 U.S. 297, 313, 92 S.Ct. 2125, 2134, 32 L.Ed.2d 752, 764, the court noted that the “physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed.”  Under normal circumstances, a police officer is not permitted to enter one’s home to effectuate an arrest.  But does this principle apply in DUI prosecutions?

In State v. Lake, 2009-Ohio-3057, a police officer observed the Defendant commit several traffic violations, but failed to stop the Defendant before he could pull into his garage.  The Defendant argued in a motion to suppress to the trial court that he was illegally arrested when the officer barged into his garage.  His motion was overruled and he was eventually found guilty.  On appeal, the Seventh District Court of Appeals (Columbiana County) dismissed the Defendant’s argument. The Court held that the “hot pursuit” entry exception to the Fourth Amendment applied. They then stated that a defendant cannot defeat an arrest which has been set in motion in a public place by the escape to a private place, reiterating U.S. v. Watson, 423 U.S. 411, 96 S.Ct. 820, 46 L.Ed. 2d 598 (1976), the United States Supreme Court case on point.  In United States v. Santana (1976), 427 U.S. 38, 96 S.Ct. 2406, 49 L.Ed.2d 300, the court made it clear that a suspect may not avoid arrest simply by outrunning pursuing officers and finding refuge in her home. The court noted that hot pursuit “need not be an extended hue and cry ‘in and about [the] public streets.’ “ Id. at 43, 96 S.Ct. at 2410, 49 L.Ed.2d at 305, quoting the trial court. Moreover, the court went on to conclude that “a suspect may not defeat an arrest which has been set in motion in a public place * * * by the expedient of escaping to a private place.” Id. at 43, 96 S.Ct. at 2410, 49 L.Ed.2d at 306.  In 2002, the Ohio Supreme Court extended this principle to misdemeanors, see Middletown v. Flinchum 95 Ohio St.3d 43, 2002-Ohio-1625 wherein the court reasoned that since the officers observed at least two traffic violations, they had probable cause to stop the Defendant and pursue the Defendant into his “home” to effectuate an arrest.

So where does this leave us?  Does the proscriptions dating back to Roman law still apply: quid enim sanctius, quid omni religione munitius, quam domus unusquisque civium? (What more sacred, what more strongly guarded by every holy feeling, than a man’s own home? -Cicero-)  The answer lies in how effectively your attorney can argue your case before a trier-of-fact and the strength of the facts you are able to present.  DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Springboro, Huber Heights, Oakwood, Beavercreek, Centerville and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. “All I do is DUI”

Comments are closed.