Have you ever been in a situation where you think one thing is happening… but then something completely different goes down? Situations like this can end up being particularly disastrous when they involve the law.
Take the recent bar fight that happened in Douglas County. According to witnesses, Joseph Walker and his girlfriend Kaylee Anderson got into a fight inside the Fire Station Bar. The fight then spilled out into the parking lot, where it apparently got physical, with Walker swinging a shovel at Anderson and then hitting a car’s windshield with the shovel.
The couple then left the bar, but the police were able to track them to a nearby house. Upon arriving at the house, officers smelled marijuana. They even saw marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia when they looked through a window.
At this point, the officers were able to obtain a search warrant. This enabled them to find a smorgasbord of drugs – “cocaine, mushrooms, butane hash oil, 450 marijuana edibles” – and $10,000 in cash. Due to this, both Walker and Anderson were arrested, along with a man named Christopher Johnson.
So in this scenario, what started off as a domestic assault call ended up leading to drug charges. How can this happen? Let’s take a look.
Domestic Assault Calls and the Police
Police officers take domestic assault calls extremely seriously and often treat them as life-threatening situations. Even if the victim changes his or her mind after making the call, officers will still respond to ensure that the victim isn’t in danger.
Because officers need to confirm that everyone is safe, they are allowed to enter your house without a warrant if they suspect someone is a victim of domestic violence. This does go against your Fourth Amendment right, which secures you against illegal search and seizure, but when it comes to domestic violence, the law gives police this right.
Now, if there was no initial domestic assault call or probable cause for a police officer to enter your home, then you don’t have to let them in – unless they have a warrant. Remember that for the future if a police officer ever wants to search your house.
However, let’s say you got in a fight with your spouse or another family or household member and someone called the cops. The police arrive and you let them in – because you have to. What’s one of the first things they’re going to do?
They’re going to take a look around. If everything seems to be fine, you’ll chat with the officers and they might be on their way shortly. If, however, there is evidence of an assault, you could be arrested on domestic assault charges.
Beyond this, though, if the officers look around your house and notice drugs – as in Walker and Anderson’s case – weapons, or anything else illegal or incriminating, you could possibly be looking at other charges in addition to a potential domestic assault charge.
If something like this happens to you, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney. An attorney will be able to look at the circumstances of your case and know the best way to proceed to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
Just because you’re under suspicion for one crime doesn’t mean you can’t be charged with another. Regardless of your charges, though, it’s important to know your rights and fight back with the help of a skilled attorney defending you every step of the way.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).