In a recent ruling by a Florida appeals court, an interesting legal decision was made in regards to a search and seizure by law enforcement at a person’s home for drugs, per a search warrant. As a reminder, under both the United States and Florida Constitution, a person has the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure of their home and property, and from unreasonable governmental intrusion. Under case law, both federal and in Florida, absent some limited exceptions, law enforcement must first obtain a search warrant from a judge, based on probable cause, to be able to search one’s home and/or property. Many times law enforcement will conduct a “knock and talk” at one’s home to speak with people and try and gather information to establish probable cause of criminal activity, to then, in turn, seek a request for a search warrant. The novel issue in this recent Florida case was whether the presence of a “No Soliciting” sign at the home negated the customary ability of visitors, including officers, to knock and talk to the person at the home’s front door.
The First District Court of Appeals stated that while the Defendant’s No Solicitation sign would be able to warn away would-be solicitors from his door, the police officers were not at his front door for the purpose of soliciting him, for example, to buy tickets or contribute money, but rather was a non-solicitation “knock and talk”, which is allowed under the law.
If you have been subject to a knock and talk with law enforcement, or subject to a search warrant being executed on your property (home, car), or if you have been arrested as a result of such issues, please give me a call at 386-257-1222 to discuss your legal rights and legal representation.