How many times have we seen TV shows and Hollywood movies portray law enforcement announcing, “Open up! Police!” Could law enforcement agencies enter into a house without knocking or identifying themselves? Currently, yes, law enforcement can obtain “no-knock” warrants in Texas.
This could be due to change with the recent introduction of HB 1272 on April 20, 2021. This new legislation proposed to the Texas House of Representatives aims to limit the issuance of no-knock warrants.
What does HB 1272 contain?
The new bill is designed to protect police and citizens from accidental shooting in the serving of warrants. Let’s take a closer look at what the bill contains:
- No-knock warrants: Under the new legislation, these types of warrants would only be issued if:
- Violent offense: The person being served the warrant is the subject of a violent crime.
- Endangerment of life: If the judge decides that any other means of entry would endanger lives.
- Destruction of evidence: If the judge that issues the no-knock warrant believes that without doing so it might lead to the destruction of evidence.
- Restricted to certain hours: No-knock warrants could only be conducted between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. under HB1272.
- Body cameras: The bill also requires body cameras to be worn and activated during, and 15 minutes after the warrant is served.
Although the bill limits the use of no-knock warrants, they would still be allowed under the above conditions.
A solid criminal defense can be developed by an advocate that is experienced and knowledgeable of Texas laws concerning the serving of warrants.