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Police Can Make A Warrantless Stop To Give Emergency Aid

The Ohio Supreme Court, in State v. Dunn, ruled that the police can make a warrantless stop to give emergency aid. In this case, the officer received a radio dispatch that there was a suicidal male driving a tow truck who was planning to kill himself. Although the officer did not observe any traffic violations, the vehicle stop was upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court. The Ohio Supreme Court said that the stop was justified under a community caretaking or emergency aid exception to the Fourth Amendment’s restrictions for warrantless searches and seizures. Because police have a duty “to provide emergency services to those who are in danger of physical harm” such stops will often be held to be valid. This exception eliminates the need to show a reasonable basis to rely on the accuracy of a tip, as that standard only applies to investigating suspected criminal activity.


The United States Supreme Court recognized community caretaking as a valid exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement, in its decision in Michigan v. Fisher. The U.S. Supreme Court said that “officers do not need ironclad proof of a likely serious, life-threatening injury to invoke the emergency aid exception.”


The emergency aid exception recognizes an important function of the police: to protect and serve. However, virtually anything can be characterized as an emergency. An attorney skilled in drafting and trying motions to suppress can keep law enforcement honest about the difference between a true emergency and a mere pretext to search one’s home or vehicle.  A successful motion to suppress can invalidate the stop and any evidence gathered after the stop.


To learn more, read my other posts related to this topic. I wrote about other exceptions to the warrant requirement, including the hot pursuit exeception and good faith exception,   I also wrote about instances where the courts did not extend the exception to the warrant requirement, such as the limitation on the use of drug dogs, as well as limitations on traffic stops.


Attorney Gigiano is a Medina County motion to suppress lawyer in Wadsworth. To learn more about the work Attorney Gigiano has done for his clients, take a look at the Daniel Gigiano Reviews, reviews found in a number of websites, and articles and links to his work. If you have questions about this or other questions you need answered by a Wooster motion to suppress lawyer near Orrville, an Akron motion to suppress lawyer near Barberton, or a Stark County motion to suppress lawyer near Massillon, please call Attorney Daniel F. Gigiano at 330-336-3330.