Entry into a residence to make an arrest generally requires a search warrant.

The statutory authority to enter a residence to make an arrest is found in Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 764.21.  This law or statute applies when police have been refused admittance to a residence where the suspect is reasonably suspected to be located.  It allows an officer to forcibly enter a residence to arrest a suspect with an outstanding arrest warrant.  The law also permits a forcible entry to arrest someone for a felony under certain circumstances. However, courts have restricted the use of the statute based on constitutional limitations. In situations where a statute conflicts with the Constitution, the Constitution wins.

The warrantless break and enter rule in Michigan requires:

  • an alleged misdemeanor
  • with or without a warrant (as authorized by law)
  • the suspect is believed to be inside
  • announcement of the officer’s presence
  • a request to enter that is refused
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Felony Arrests With an Arrest Warrant

The police cannot just break down the door of a person’s home just because he or she has an arrest warrant. In Payton v. New York, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a valid felony arrest warrant allows police to enter a suspect’s residence to make the arrest, but only when there is a good reason to believe the suspect is inside.

Without an Arrest Warrant

Unless exigent circumstances exist, the police may not enter a residence to make a warrantless felony arrest.  This prohibition is the rule no matter who owns the residence and whether or not the suspect is inside.  Examples of exigent circumstances justifying entry include “hot pursuit” and “significant and apparent danger” to the public or police.

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Misdemeanor Arrests

The Michigan Court of Appeals has held that Michigan law does not authorize entry into a residence for a warrantless misdemeanor arrest. For misdemeanors, the only way a person can lawfully be arrested for a misdemeanor is if it was committed within the view of the police officer.  If the officer did not see the commission of the misdemeanor, his only option is to ask a city or township attorney or a state prosecutor to issue a complaint and warrant.

Arrests at Third Party Residences

When the person named in an arrest warrant is inside a residence owned by a third party, the rule is simple: Officers must obtain a search warrant or consent before making an entry.   Both the U.S. Supreme Court (Steagald v. United States) and the Michigan Court of Appeals (People v. Stark) have held that arrest warrants do not authorize entry into third-party residences – even when officers are certain the wanted person is inside.

“What if my rights were violated?”

If the police violated your rights, your attorney can do several things to help you. Both Michigan and federal courts have consistently ruled that a violation of a person’s rights against unreasonable searches and seizures may result in suppression of evidence. For example, if the police obtain evidence as a result of the unconstitutional entry into the home, that evidence should be inadmissible at trial. Evidence that is not related to or did not result from the arrest would not get suppressed.  If there is not enough evidence to proceed to trial after the illegally obtained evidence is thrown out of court, the case will be dismissed.

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“Can I get out on bond?”

Someone held in jail pending extradition is entitled to a fair, reasonable bond. The court will seldom advise the defendant that a bond is available. In fact, most lawyers and judges are not even aware that Michigan law provides for a bond pending extradition.  The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., has successfully argued for a reasonable bond in multiple cases. We have the expertise to educate the court on the state of the law and provide the necessary information to convince the judge to order a reasonable amount for a bond.  Once the defendant gets released on bond, he would have to surrender voluntarily in the state that issued the warrant.  Once he surrenders, the Michigan court releases the bond money paid by the defendant.

“What do I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?”

If there is a warrant for your arrest, it is time to get some help.  If you get arrested on a warrant, the police officers will bring you before a magistrate or judge for arraignment. The judge will set a bond, and you may have to post money before you can be released. In almost all cases, the bond amount is set at a lower amount when someone walks into court with a retained attorney, as opposed to being brought to the court in handcuffs by the police.  The main purpose of a bond is to make sure the defendant shows back up in court. If someone self-surrenders, that person’s self-motivated presence in court is very good evidence that he or she will return in the future.  The Michigan Court Rules list various factors a judge must consider when determining the amount of bail. An experienced lawyer will know how to present the most persuasive arguments relative to each of the factors.  If the attorney presents all the right arguments to the court, the defendant will have a good chance of getting a personal bond. A personal bond does not require any money and the defendant merely has to promise to return.

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Defense Attorneys Experienced with Extradition

The defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have extensive experience handling extradition cases and securing a reasonable bond. If you are subject to arrest on an out of state warrant or if your friend or a family member has been arrested, call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or kindly complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.