Under the Fourth Amendment of The Unites States Constitution, we are protected against the government from making unreasonable searches and seizures. This especially applies to our homes, our castles. However, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, recently decided that a police officer is not liable for a civil rights violation for kicking in the door of a man's home to arrest him for drunk driving! Through my years observing the law as a criminal defense lawyer, it just seems that the courts will bend over backward to to not uphold the constituion when a DUI is involved. This is just another another example. Listen, there either is or there isn't a 4th Amendment to our Constittuion. Last time I checked, it was still there.
On Oct. 2, 2004, police officer Reeves followed Alan Cilman from a sports bar to his home on suspicion of drunk driving. When Alan Cilman arrived home, he asked the police officer to leave his property. Alan then went into his home and locked the door. Officer Reeves called for back-up and then kicked in the door to Alan Cilman's house.
The police then arrested Cilman for public intoxication and evasion without force. They didn't even charge him with drunken driving! All the criminal charges against Cilman were dismissed later dismissed.
When Cilman sued Reeves. Alexandria U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said Officer Reeves was liable as a matter of law under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Va. Code § 19.2-59 because of the warrantless entry.
However, the 4th Circuit panel said the law on warrantless entries in this kind of case is unclear, and that the Officer deserved the benefit of the doubt. The Officer was given qualified immunity.