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Lange v. California


Petitioner Arthur Lange drove by California highway patrol and was “asking for attention” (honking, loud music, windows down). The officer began to follow Lange, and then turned on his overhead lights to initiate a stop. Lange did not stop, but rather kept driving a short distance and entered his driveway and attached garage. The officer followed and put Lange through a field sobriety test, showing his blood-alcohol as three times the legal limit. Lange was charged with the misdemeanor of DUI. “Lange moved to suppress all evidence obtained after the officer enter this garage, arguing that the warrantless entry had violated the Fourth Amendment.”


“Whether the pursuit of a fleeing misdemeanor suspect always—or more legally put, categorically—qualifies as an exigent circumstance.”


“Under the Fourth Amendment, pursuit of a fleeing misdemeanor suspect does not always— that is, categorically—justify a warrantless entry into a home.” “The Court’s Fourth Amendment precedents counsel in favor of a case-by-case assessment of exigency when deciding whether a suspected misdemeanant’s flight justifies a warrantless home entry.”


“The flight of a suspected misdemeanant does not always justify a warrantless entry into a home. An officer must consider all the circumstances in a pursuit case to determine whether there is a law enforcement emergency. On many occasions, the officer will have good reason to enter—to prevent imminent harms of violence, destruction of evidence, or escape from the home. But when the officer has time to get a warrant, he must do so—even though the misdemeanant fled”


141 S.Ct. 2011 (2021)

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