The Supreme Court has long maintained that police can not forcibly enter someone's home without a warrant on the suspicion of driving under the influence, but a federal appeals court recently upheld a case in which a Virginia officer did just that.

On October 3, 2004, Alan J. Cilman had dinner at a local restaurant where he drank and watched a football game. When he left the establishment, officer M.A. Reeves saw Cilman take off at a high rate of speed and proceeded to follow the sports fan to his home. Reeves claims that Cilman ran a stop sign, didn't use his turning indicators and accelerated quickly from each turn.

It's unclear whether Reeves actually activated his cruiser's lights while following Cilman. What is clear is that Cilman made it to his home and quickly walked to his front door while Reeves told him to stop, but did not say that he was under arrest. Cilman then locked his door and told the officer to get off of his property. Reeves called for back up, proceeded to kick in Cilman's door and arrested him for being drunk in public and evasion without force. Those charges were later dropped when a U.S. district court found that entering Cilman's property without a warrant was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.

Reeves then proceeded to appeal the decision. Virginia state law declares that if he were later found guilty of a another constitutional infringement, he would be removed from duty. The appellate judges decided that there is no precedent protecting someone from warrantless entry in a case like Cilman's. The court reversed every decision in Cilman's favor and dismissed the case entirely.


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  • 165 Comments
      feisty5399
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was pulled over for a DUI because of the time of the morning. To make a long story short. I was sober, the cops lied, the video showed they lied and they ate crow. Judge chewed them out bad. But after that they sat outside my home and tried to watch me thru the window. I actually went into the kitchen got a beer and made sure they seen me open it, smiled, gave him the thumbs up and closed the curtains.
      throwback
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why not stop him after he ran the stop sign? Kicking in someone's door to arrest them for allegedly driving drunk is ridiculous. You don't know he's drunk unless you do a Breathalyzer.
      Supergoat
      • 3 Years Ago
      Jeez Autoblog. Can you get someone who knows how to read before you post stupid ****. All criminal charges against Cilman were dismissed. The officer could not go in there like he did. Cilman then filed suit against the town and the officer for violating his constitutional rights. Basically the court only said that what the officer did was not 'malicious' and that he had a 'reasonable belief' that he was acting correctly when he broke down the door without a warrant. In fact, he was NOT acting correctly and therefore the criminal charges were all dropped, but Cilman was not allowed to sue the officer and the town and get damages for the breaking and entering. That is all.
      BlancTora
      • 3 Years Ago
      Being generous and assuming the cops description of the man's driving is accurate, who's to say he doesn't drive like that sober? Clearly his driving wasn't bad enough to warrant the police officer activating his sirens and pulling him over, so what justification does the cop have for kicking down his door? The man may have been drinking, but was he even over the limit? I wonder how those who support the police officer's actions would feel if it turns out the alleged drunk driver had a BAC under 0.08?
      tony
      • 3 Years Ago
      Gestapo in action. Why do we even have a supreme court if the oink squad just ignores them?
      ludiamondz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Have we not learned how much danger authority put civilians in when theyre given more power? It always boggles me that these laws get passed out of nowhere. This is only the beginning. I don't drink nor drive but this is just the start. Soon ppl who look under the influence of pot will also be able to get there house rammed and before you know it will upgrade to ppl who look suspicious. If you have not seen the connections just check out previous laws that have grown to give them power. You would think the gov would work on making laws to help ppl get jobs and help inequality, authority abuse, and laws to help the environment(which we do sometimes) for the most part tho we are making these strange random laws. If you have not noticed all they have been working on laws that infringe on ppls freedom.
      Randy
      • 3 Years Ago
      That should be a lesson to everyone on here. NEVER drive home if you have a cop following you, drive to someones house you don't like......
      Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just FYI, I respect Law enforcement not all bad but the ones that violate the law should face consequences otherwise all other Police officers see the outcome and have NO fear of being prosecuted!
      cnoydg
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cilman had dinner and drank at a local restaurant. When he left the establishment, officer M.A. Reeves saw Cilman take off at a high rate of speed and proceeded to follow the sports fan to his home. If Cilmanm was exceeding the speed limit, then Reeves should have turned on his siren and his flashing lights. If Cilmanm ran a stop sign, then Reeves should have turned on his siren and his flashing lights. After Cilman stopped, then Reeves could ticket him. If, while ticketing Cilman, Reeves had reason to believe that Cilman was under the influence of alcohol he could have requested Cilman to take a sobriety test. Reeves did none of these things. As I understand it, when a police officer turns on his siren and flashing lights and the suspect doesn't stop, the officer calls his precinct/ superior and alerts them to the situation and asks for back up. Police calls are recorded. Police records would show if Reeves called for back up. I believe that Reeves did not use his siren or lights and that he is guilty of an illegal entrance into Cilman's house. Even thought the appellate judges decided that there is no precedent protecting someone from warrantless entry in a case like Cilman's,and even though the court reversed every decision in Cilman's favor and dismissed the case entirely, I would appeal the decision. This would be very expensive and take a lot of time. (This next sentence is supposed to be sarcastic: "Maybe those wonderful, God fearing, patriotic lawyers who work for the ACLU would handle this case pro bono. After all, they all want to see justice prevail."
      canduit14u
      • 3 Years Ago
      the cop is an idiot ! he follows the guy thru speeding ,swerving , running stop signs and doesn't put on his lights to pull him over ! but first he's camped outside a bar waiting for a suspected drunk driver ! was he also waiting for the guy to get in an accident or run a pedestrian over ! he's more stupid a dangerous than any drunk driver !
        • 3 Years Ago
        @canduit14u
        [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        @canduit14u
        [blocked]
      BIG DADDY STEVE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Come into my home without a warrant and see if you can leave on your own. No questions will be asked from me until I am sure you are no longer moving. That's what anyone, no matter if you are an inuniform cop or who you are if you do not have that warrant then you better not try to come into my home for any reason.
        ludiamondz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BIG DADDY STEVE
        Even tho you are right on that if you did do something you would be the one who gets arrested and looked at in the public eye as a maniac. If you haven't noticed by these comments the best thing ppl are good at is critisizing and judging others. Theyd have a field day with you. Soon the media will make it so that everyone agrees to gettin stripped of all there rights.
      Fatoid
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The court reversed every decision in Cilman's favor and dismissed the case entirely." This sentence is horribly ambiguous. Just because the source article uses it, doesn't mean it's worth reprinting.
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