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Thread: Can a police officer lawfully order someone to enter their home if they are outside?

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    Regular Member Grim_Night's Avatar
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    Can a police officer lawfully order someone to enter their home if they are outside?

    As the title says. If a person is outside the confines of their home and police are outside, can they lawfully order that person to enter their home?

    Say if LEOs are searching an apartment complex for a criminal that is fleeing capture and I am standing outside next to the apartment building, and the LEOs ordered me to leave and go inside my apartment.
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    My question would be if they are searching for a suspect of any kind why the hell would you wanna be outside in the first place?

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    The more general question is; what and where are the limits on a LEO's "lawful order"?

    I have been threatened with arrest for "disobeying a lawful order" when I cautioned my local cop that I will greet him outside my locked and secured vehicle in a traffic arrest. I cannot find the legal limits in my statutes on his lawful order.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    The more general question is; what and where are the limits on a LEO's "lawful order"?

    I have been threatened with arrest for "disobeying a lawful order" when I cautioned my local cop that I will greet him outside my locked and secured vehicle in a traffic arrest. I cannot find the legal limits in my statutes on his lawful order.
    That's a good question I would think each case could be different depending on the circumstances and the state law in question.

    IMHO I would think an arrest would be justified if disobeying truly place the public, the person commanded to obey or the officer and the action truly place any or all three in a dangerous situation.

    Here's one time that I was temped to use that power in my career and there were only a couple.

    We had a vehicle take out a major power line and the wires were still hot laying across the road way.

    We had traffic stopped and were in the process of placing barricades' up. A vehicle approach and started around my cruiser and barricades.

    The driver became very angry and incessant that he was going to go across the wires and down the road way. I told him in no uncertain terms he would be arrested for disobeying a lawful order if he moved his vehicle any further .

    He swore at me turn his vehicle around and left. I really didn't want to arrest the guy my hands were kind of full.

    But if he would have tried to continue I would have had to,his actions could have not only placed him in danger plus others.

    I personally don't see arresting some one for just getting out of a vehicle after being told not to as a reason . But there could be an exception. The driver is stupid and insist he is going to stand in the traffic lane thus a danger to himself and others.

    There are good and lawful orders that should be obey but the law shouldn't be used as a catch all just for saying no.
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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    You: Officer, I know you have a job to do, but I am not and will not interfere with your efforts. Now, if this will be a issue for you, then we can resolve this issue at a later date in a courtroom, in front of a judge.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
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    If you are legally in a place (your property) and that you have a legal right to be there (your home, garage , yard, etc.) I do not see how you could be arrested for violating an order given by LEO. If on the other hand, there was a high degree of danger, maybe.

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    All depends on what state you're in and what that state's legal system provides for. It makes a difference if you're in Louisianna, Wyoming, Maryland, France, Portugal, etc. Each one is its own sovereign entity and has its own rules and legal system.
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    Regular Member DocWalker's Avatar
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    My thoughts about this were peaked when the Boston bombers were on the loose. People were pretty much under marshal law, what would an officer do if I left my home and went to a store or something? I don't live there thank god but were is the line on the power the goverment and local officials have to order free citizens around on their own private and public property? Not sure I would have complied with the house arrest in Boston.

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    And no one would blame you. But, it is unclear, based on video evidence, that you would not have been shot for non-compliance. While no citizen was shot, guns were clearly aimed at folks while they were inside their homes. Any perceived threat would likely have resulted in shots being fired. The Constitution Suspension Event demonstrates that the citizens in MA are properly trained and those who balk at their training are immediately retrained.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Regular Member DocWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    And no one would blame you. But, it is unclear, based on video evidence, that you would not have been shot for non-compliance. While no citizen was shot, guns were clearly aimed at folks while they were inside their homes. Any perceived threat would likely have resulted in shots being fired. The Constitution Suspension Event demonstrates that the citizens in MA are properly trained and those who balk at their training are immediately retrained.
    Yep thought boston was more like the town in red dawn that was taken over and not America. That would not go over so well here in Idaho.

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    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    You'd think it would depend on the officer, the location, if you were in your own yard, what you were doing.

    I've heard, IIRC, of a woman arrested filming outside in her own yard. Not sure if it was reversed.

    You disobey a demand by a LEO at your peril.

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    Regular Member Grim_Night's Avatar
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    Lets stick to the topic and situation at hand please. This isn't about bombers, martial law, or anything outside the state of Washington.

    If LEOs are inside a gated apartment complex searching for a fleeing felony suspect. I for example and doing nothing more then standing outside at the corner of one of the apartment buildings. An officer tells me to go back inside my apartment. I ask if it is required by law and the officer responds that no it is not, it is for my own safety because they have a K9 unit on the scene and they don't want me to get bitten. Again, I decline to comply with the request to go back inside my apartment but do nothing else other then stand in a location that is out of the way.

    Is it a lawful order from the LEOs to go back inside my apartment?
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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim_Night View Post
    Lets stick to the topic and situation at hand please. This isn't about bombers, martial law, or anything outside the state of Washington.

    If LEOs are inside a gated apartment complex searching for a fleeing felony suspect. I for example and doing nothing more then standing outside at the corner of one of the apartment buildings. An officer tells me to go back inside my apartment. I ask if it is required by law and the officer responds that no it is not, it is for my own safety because they have a K9 unit on the scene and they don't want me to get bitten. Again, I decline to comply with the request to go back inside my apartment but do nothing else other then stand in a location that is out of the way.

    Is it a lawful order from the LEOs to go back inside my apartment?
    If they can't control their dog, they shouldn't use them. No you don't have to automatically follow cop orders. You may beat the rap but you won't beat the ride.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim_Night View Post
    Lets stick to the topic and situation at hand please. This isn't about bombers, martial law, or anything outside the state of Washington.

    If LEOs are inside a gated apartment complex searching for a fleeing felony suspect. I for example and doing nothing more then standing outside at the corner of one of the apartment buildings. An officer tells me to go back inside my apartment. I ask if it is required by law and the officer responds that no it is not, it is for my own safety because they have a K9 unit on the scene and they don't want me to get bitten. Again, I decline to comply with the request to go back inside my apartment but do nothing else other then stand in a location that is out of the way.

    Is it a lawful order from the LEOs to go back inside my apartment?
    Ultimately, only a judge can determine the answer to the question at hand.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim_Night View Post
    As the title says. If a person is outside the confines of their home and police are outside, can they lawfully order that person to enter their home?

    Say if LEOs are searching an apartment complex for a criminal that is fleeing capture and I am standing outside next to the apartment building, and the LEOs ordered me to leave and go inside my apartment.
    Since cops can lie ... I think that you have no duty to believe anything that they say ... so, no I don't think they can tell you do do anything unless you have a belief.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sudden valley gunner View Post
    If they can't control their dog, they shouldn't use them.
    Same could be said for their guns, cars, batons, etc...

    My opinion, as long as you aren't interfering with police business or breaking the law, you have nothing to "obey."

    That said, there's a video floating around youtube of a guy with a dog (not gun) filming a police-contained DV (iirc) situation in LA. I think he had loud music playing and the cops cuffed him for interfering. There was nothing he did that would constitute interference, imo, yet he was cuffed. Oh, of course his dog got loose and the cops shot it.

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    Regular Member 509rifas's Avatar
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    There is that little clause in Article 1 Section 7 about "without authority of law". The question would be, as originally posed, is there a statute being violated.
    I know from my case they can set up a perimeter where NO ONE is allowed and could do an Obstructing an Officer if you knowingly violated it, but if they order you in "just because" that seems like beyond the scope of their authority.
    You certainly are allowed to observe police activity from a safe distance. It makes it safer if you film of course, because then what really happened shows up in court instead of what the officers report says, something which also factored in my case and its dismissal.
    If, as you said, the officer says it is not required but is for your own safety then of course it's not required, and the best they could do is a Contempt of Cop, which you might get convicted of if you don't film it.
    I'd like to see some case law pulled out on this though. Anyone know any WASHINGTON court decisions on this?
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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    If you are on your own property, tell the cop to take a hike.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Regular Member DocWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    If you are on your own property, tell the cop to take a hike.
    Then get tased....

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Standing up for rights isn't always going to be pretty.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocWalker View Post
    Then get tased....
    Tase me
    Tase me
    It don't faze me
    bzzz bzzz bzzz

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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spikedzombies View Post
    My question would be if they are searching for a suspect of any kind why the hell would you wanna be outside in the first place?

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    welcome to the forum

    answer; because i want to. period
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocWalker View Post
    Then get tased....
    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    Tase me
    Tase me
    It don't faze me
    bzzz bzzz bzzz
    "Don't tase me, bro!"
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    Last edited by Bernymac; 04-04-2014 at 02:44 PM.

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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by papa bear View Post
    welcome to the forum

    answer; because i want to. period
    BINGO!
    My rights don't end simply because the police say so.
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    Regular Member 509rifas's Avatar
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    Looks like its time to do some case law research on what a "lawful order" is.
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