Exigent Circumstances

Exigent circumstances are exceptions to the general requirement of a warrant under the Fourth Amendment searches and seizures.  Exigent circumstances occur when the a law enforcement officer has a probable cause and no sufficient time to secure a warrant.

Courts look at the time when the officer makes the warrantless search or seizure to evaluate whether at that point in time a reasonable officer at the scene would believe it is urgent to act and impractical to secure a warrant.  Courts may also consider whether the facts suggested that the suspect was armed and planning to escape, whether a reasonable police officer would believe his safety or others’ safety was threatened, and whether there was a serious crime involved.

Exigent circumstances may also occur when the police is in hot pursuit of a suspect who is possibly involved in criminal activities and in the process of fleeing. 

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