What Does “Hot Pursuit” Mean?


Hot Pursuit is a situation where law enforcement is actively chasing an individual suspected of a crime, and it provides an exception to the normal requirement that the police have a warrant to search you or your home. Hot pursuit is a type of exigent circumstance, which is a general category of circumstances under which officers do not need a warrant to conduct a search.

Some important points regarding “hot pursuit” include;

  • If officers are in hot pursuit of a suspect who flees to a house, the police may enter without a warrant, even where the underlying charge for which the officers are seeking arrest is only a misdemeanor. (Middletown v. Flinchum)
  • Unless a suspect consents to a search or exigent circumstances (like hot pursuit) are present, an arrest warrant does not authorize search of subject's home. A separate search warrant is required. (Steagald v. United States)
  • The Second District Court of Appeals decided a case regarding hot pursuit, a type of exigent circumstance, that provides law enforcement with an exception to the warrant requirement. The Court decided that officers may make a warrantless entry into a home while pursuing a suspect for any crime, as long as the pursuit begins in a public place. The decision is somewhat controversial, since it could lend itself to overreach, and may be reviewed by the Ohio Supreme Court in the future. (State v. Lam)

Posted in Criminal Defense

Tagged criminal defense attorney, Fourth Amendment, hot pursuit, ohio criminal defense lawyer, searches and seizures