Longview, TX asked in Criminal Law and Civil Rights for Colorado

Q: If we are not legally required in Colorado to speak to police/open the door, how can a warrant be issued

In Colorado from my understanding we are not legally required to open the door if the police knock nor do we legally have to speak to them without a warrant. So how can they issue warrants for failing to do so, or at all until they speak with you? Shouldnt theu issue a summons for questioning instead?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Andrew John Contiguglia
Andrew John Contiguglia
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Denver, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: You’ve asked a number of different quests over a few different posts. i will try to compound everything in to one answer to you don’t have to go to multiple places to get an answers.

Warrants are based on a very low legal standard called “probable cause.” There is no requirement that a police officer speak to an accused before getting a warrant. And if the accused was my client, i would say not to speak to the police anyway. So, really all that is needed is someone stating that he/she has been the victim of a crime. If there is any form of corroborating evidence, like another kid who was sent a buttock picture from your friend’s son, that would likely be enough. The interview stage is a great opportunity for the police to get the kid to confess, making their job that much easier. There’s much less to prove when you have a confession.

Now, getting in to the substance of the case, you raise an interesting point about privacy. If the image was shared around originally, then there might not be a privacy issue at play. But, this will be very factually specific. People can give consent to certain amounts of privacy and not others. Which means, for example, you can use the photo for your own personal reasons, but you can’t share it with your friends. And who knows what people are saying or what exactly the police are investigating. No one will know until the reports are reviewed.

Then there begs the obvious question, if this picture had images of someone under the age of 18, then that is possession and distribution of child pornography, which is a whole event animal.

Brian K. McHugh agrees with this answer

Mr.  H. Michael Steinberg
Mr. H. Michael Steinberg
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Greenwood Village, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: You are conflating two different issues. Law enforcement has no obligation to question a suspect before requesting a warrant based upon evidence developed in an investigation.

Quite often the police will not question the target of that Investigstion for a variety of reasons and while you are correct that you do not have to open a door unless the police have a search warrant - there is no prohibition on the side of law enforcement for proceeding with the prosecution of criminal charges based on what they have.

The two are separate issues.

Brian K. McHugh agrees with this answer

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