By: Dee Wampler

When does “knock and announce” not apply?

The Fourth Amendment requires all police3 officers “knock and announce” their identity and purpose entry into your house or apartment even with a search warrant.¹

The “no-knock entry” is always present in felony drug cases, especially where there is an extremely high risk of serious, if not deadly injury to police, as well as potential for the disposal of drugs by the occupants. It is left to trail courts to determine the circumstances under which an “unannounced entry” is reasonable.²

Simply put, the rule was that cops need not have specific information about dangerousness or the possibility of destruction of drugs in a particular case. Notwithstanding they still cannot dispense with the knock and announce requirement.

All seems to be fair in “love, war, and felony drug searches,” but otherwise there must be a strong exception and reasonable suspicion that knocking and announcing would be dangerous or futile and would inhibit effective investigation of the crime, i.e., destruction of evidence. Thus, it’s not a question of just “knock or no-knock.” It’s a question of “knock and announce” so police in a loud voice should say “police – search warrant!”

So – be warned!


¹Wilson v Arkansas, 514 US 927 (1995).
²Richards v Wisconsin, 520 US 385.


Dee Wampler – learn more

At the Law Offices of Dee Wampler & Joseph Passanise, Dee Wampler draws from more than four decades of legal experience in defending clients accused of an array of crimes throughout southwestern Missouri, including Springfield, St. Louis and Kansas City. As a Springfield native, Mr. Wampler understands the nuances of the Missouri court system, but he is an equally formidable criminal trial attorney in high-profile federal cases involving serious charges. His work has earned him recognition across the country and even internationally. Several nationally syndicated television shows, including “Saturday Night with Connie Chung,” “Inside Edition” and ABC’s “Primetime” have featured his cases, and Missouri Lawyers Weekly has showcased his work approximately 20 times.