“Open up. Police!” On some shows and movies, these words are followed by people flushing evidence, reaching for weapons, and/or jumping out of back windows. The “knock and announce” rule has traditionally required that police knock, announce their authority and purpose, and wait a “reasonable” amount of time before forcing entry.
In some states, law enforcement has regained their element of surprise when serving warrants by using what is called “no-knock” tactics. Recently, no-knock search and arrest warrants have regained national attention after resulting in tragedies for both police officers and suspects.
Does Florida allow no-knock warrants?
Florida is one of three states that have banned no-knock warrants. This means that law enforcement must knock and announce who they are and what their intentions are. Florida has saved countless lives with this progressive legislation. This ban was first put into place in the 1994 Florida Supreme Court ruling.
When can police legally enter a Florida home without knocking?
Generally, police can’t enter your home without observing the “knock and announce” rule — but there are exceptions. Although a no-knock warrant will not be issued in Florida, there are extenuating circumstances where law enforcement may legally enter a home without knocking. Here are a few examples:
- The person inside already is aware that police are there to serve a warrant
- Police reasonably believe that someone inside the house is in imminent danger
- The officer feels that their danger would increase if they were to knock and announce
- Police believe that people inside the house are actively trying to escape or destroy evidence
Words like “reasonably believe” are very subjective and open for interpretation by the courts. It is important to understand that even though Florida does not issue no-knock warrants, it doesn’t mean that police are not allowed to enter a home without knocking if they believe it is necessary.
If you believe that your rights have been violated in the execution of a warrant, it is recommended to seek legal counsel that is experienced in criminal defense in Florida.