Case Result: Warrantless Entry into State College Apartment
The clients were visiting friends at the Penn State University Park and had attended a party in an apartment building in downtown State College. The police responded to a report of a loud party, arrived at the apartment, and entered the apartment without obtaining a warrant. The ensuing investigation led the officers to discover that the clients were minors and had been drinking alcohol. The clients both received non-traffic summary citations for Underage Drinking under 18 Pa.C.S.A 6308.
Experienced Penn State Underage Drinking attorney attended the summary trials before the State College judge and argued that all evidence found after the officers made the warrantless entry into the apartment must be suppressed. A warrantless entry into an apartment is generally unconstitutional unless an exception applies, such as consent or exigent circumstances. Here, none of the occupants in the apartment consented or permitted the officers to enter. Also, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in Commonwealth v. Roland that the police are normally not permitted to make a warrantless entry for exigent circumstances for relatively minor crimes like minors in possession of alcohol.
The State College judge agreed with the criminal defense attorney’s argument and granted the suppression of evidence. With no evidence that the clients were drunk or were under the age of 21, the clients were found not guilty. An Underage Drinking expungement was filed to have the criminal charge removed from the clients’ criminal records.