The Curtilage of Your Place of Abode
The term curtilage according to the Virginia Courts is defined in the following cases:
"Because homeowners possess a reasonable expectation of privacy in the curtilage surrounding their homes, Oliver v. United States, 466 U.S. 170, 180 (1984), "the curtilage . . . warrants the Fourth Amendment protections that attach to the home." Id.; see also Jefferson v. Commonwealth, 27 Va. App. 1, 15, 497 S.E.2d 474, 481 (1998) ("Consistent with the common law understanding of the extent of the 'home,' the Supreme Court has held that the Fourth Amendment protections that apply to the house also apply to the 'curtilage' of the house."). Because the Fourth Amendment protects the curtilage to the same extent as the home, a police officer may not enter the curtilage without a warrant, exigent circumstances, or pursuant to an express or implied invitation from the occupant. See Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 589-90 (1980) ("To be arrested in the home involves not only the invasion attendant to all arrests but also an invasion of the sanctity of the home. This is simply too substantial an invasion to allow without a warrant, at least in the absence of exigent circumstances . . . ." (internal quotations omitted)).
Generally, the curtilage of a home is the "area around the home to which the activity of home life extends." Oliver, 466 U.S. at 180; see also Wellford v. Commonwealth, 227 Va. 297, 301, 315 S.E.2d 235, 238 (1984) (defining "curtilage" as the "space necessary and convenient, habitually used for family purposes and the carrying on of domestic employment; the yard, garden or field which is near to and used in connection with the dwelling"). "[W]hether a particular place is within the curtilage of the home is determined on a case-by-case basis." Jefferson, 27 Va. App. at 16, 497 S.E.2d at 481 (citing United States v. Dunn, 480 U.S. 294, 301 n.4 (1987)). In determining whether the area in question constitutes curtilage, "particular reference" to the following four factors is helpful:
 the proximity of the area claimed to be curtilage to the home,
 whether the area is included within an enclosure surrounding the home,
 the nature of the uses to which the area is put, and
 the steps taken by the resident to protect the area from observation by people passing by.
Dunn, 480 U.S. at 301; Jefferson, 27 Va. App. at 16, 497 S.E.2d at 481. "[T]hese factors are useful analytical tools only to the degree that, in any given case, they bear upon the centrally relevant consideration-whether the area in question is so intimately tied to the home itself that it should be placed under the home's 'umbrella' of Fourth Amendment protection." Dunn, 480 U.S. at 301."
"Under the Fourth Amendment, a search is an invasion into a space or area where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the 'person,' or the person's 'houses,' 'papers,' or 'effects.'" Hughes v. Commonwealth, 31 Va. App. 447, 455, 524 S.E.2d 155, 159 (2000).
To determine whether a citizen "enjoys a reasonable expectation of privacy . . . we consider whether he [or she] has exhibited an expectation of privacy in the object and whether that expectation is one that 'society is prepared to recognize as reasonable.'" Anderson v. Commonwealth, 25 Va. App. 565, 576, 490 S.E.2d 274, 279 (1997) (quoting Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 361 (1967) (Harlan, J., concurring)), aff'd, 256 Va. 580, 507 S.E.2d 339 (1998). "[W]here private lands are exposed to observation by members of the public who may legitimately come upon the property, a citizen does not reasonably have an expectation of privacy in areas that the passing public can observe." Shaver, 30 Va. App. at 795, 520 S.E.2d at 396.
Here, appellant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the front entrance to his apartment, an area "observable by members of the public who might approach [his] residence, pass by, or lawfully be upon [the] property.""