South Carolina Supreme Court includes backyard as part of the curtilage of a home for purposes of a drug search
In State v. Bash, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the circuit court’s decision to suppress drug evidence because the court found that officers had entered the surrounding area of someone’s home, also known as the curtilage of the home, for the purpose of conducting a search in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. If you have a drug charge, contact Fort Mill Criminal Lawyers at Pisarik Law Firm to find out if you have been the subject of an illegal search. 803-415-2733.
Officers coming into a person’s backyard does not constitute a legal “knock and talk”
In State v. Bash, Officers received an anonymous tip of illegal drug activity occurring behind a residence. They responded to the call by driving on a public road behind the residence and walking “into the grassy area” surrounding the residence. Once in the grassy area, the officers observed a number of people gathered, including the Defendant, and observed someone throw something that appeared to be cocaine down on the ground and another individual fleeing the scene. The officers proceeded further into the grassy area and found cocaine weighing scales and cocaine base. They arrested the Defendant and charged him with trafficking cocaine and cocaine base.
At trial, Defendant moved to suppress the drugs arguing that the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment protects individuals, in part, from unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons and homes including the land immediately surrounding and associated with the home. Officers are allowed to approach your home to “knock and talk” like other members of the public but that only applies when an officer approaches a residence by a route available to the general public, knocks on the front door of the residence, and speaks with an occupant of the residence who responds to the knocking. Here, the Court held that the grassy area behind the home was closely enough associated with the home to be protected by the Fourth Amendment and that entering this area by the back yard with the intent to follow up on the drug tip did not constitute a “knock and talk.” Accordingly, the ruling to suppress the drug evidence was upheld.
Contact Fort Mill criminal lawyers at Pisarik Law Firm if you have received a criminal charge to discuss your criminal defense
If you think your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated by an unlawful search and seizure in a drug case, a DUI case, an underage possession of alcohol case or other criminal case, contact experienced Fort Mill Criminal Lawyers at Pisarik Law Firm at 803-415-2733.