Sometimes, especially where criminal charges are concerned, one thing can lead to another and a person can find themselves bogged down in a legal quagmire. This can be especially true if a person was careless or indiscreet, essentially inviting drug charges that were filed against them. When an officer stops someone, they must have reasonable suspicion to do so. In order to search or enter a home, an officer needs a warrant, or in the absence of a warrant, articulable probable cause. Officers don’t need any of these things, however, if they are invited into a home.
Before inviting a law enforcement officer to enter one’s home, a person should be reasonably certain that nothing illegal is going on. A recent cautionary tale occurred in Centre County, Pennsylvania. A trooper on patrol saw a woman go into a house in Boggs Township. The officer recognized the person as someone who was wanted on other charges. So, the trooper went up to the door and knocked on it.
The door was answered by the house’s tenant, who gave the trooper permission to enter the house in order to question the woman who was wanted by authorities. While inside the home, the officer saw drug paraphernalia in “plain view” and smelled the scent of marijuana in the air. He also observed hypodermic needles, a glass vial with white residue in it and razor blades. All this was enough probable cause for the trooper to obtain a search warrant.
When officers returned to execute the search warrant, they found all the materials and components necessary to comprise a single-pot meth lab, which was then active. The woman who had been wanted on other charges, a man who had also been in the residence, and the woman who first invited the trooper into the house were all arrested on several drug charges.