Many Texas residents are familiar with the fact that they are entitled to certain constitutional rights to protect themselves from unreasonable searches and seizures. This often means that before authorities are permitted to search an individual’s person or their home, police must have probable cause.
Further, in the instance of conducting a search of a home, police must first obtain a search warrant in most cases. The warrant is then issued by a magistrate who must be convinced probable cause first exists to search the home. When the search is authorized, authorities will knock and announce their presence before entering to conduct the desired search.
Recently, a police raid was carried out at one Texas man’s home while he was inside sleeping. Police did not knock before going inside. The man, thinking the raid was a robbery, shot one of the on-site officers. The shot inflicted a fatal wound. The man was charged with murder, but a grand jury refused to indict him after initial evidence was presented. It is not often that a grand jury in the state of Texas refuses to indict an individual relating to the death of an officer.
In some rare instances the law in Texas does permit authorities to enter a home with a search warrant without knocking first. In these circumstances, the police must convince a judge that certain exigent circumstances exist where evidence risks being destroyed for example if notice or knocking is given to the resident of the home. Some criminal defense attorneys might say this privilege is overused in the state.
Prosecutors in Texas and other states across the nation take charges like murder and drug charges seriously. This is why it is so crucial to obtain vigorous and knowledgeable counsel when facing a criminal charge in the state.
Source: Charlotte Observer, “Grand Jury won’t indict man who shot Texas deputy,” Nomaan Merchant, Feb. 6, 2014