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When can the federal government use no-knock warrants?

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2022 | Criminal Defense

There has been a lot of media attention and considerable controversy over the past couple of years about the use of “no-knock” warrants by law enforcement agencies across the country. The use of these warrants, particularly when the information used to get them was wrong or deliberately falsified, has led to innocent people being killed in their homes while the people who were the targets of these warrants weren’t even living there.

Some states, including New Jersey, have added requirements to obtain a no-knock warrant and restrictions on who can carry them out. What about the federal government? Can federal law enforcement agents execute a no-knock warrant?

The DOJ recently amended its rules

Last September, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) implemented changes to its rules on what it calls “no-knock entries” or “unannounced entries.” The changes came after the DOJ reviewed its policies on these entries. 

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced that unless “announcing the agent’s presence would create an imminent threat of physical violence to the agent and/or another person,” federal law enforcement agents are required to “knock and announce” themselves and their purpose for being there.

Under the revised policy, if a federal law enforcement agency believes they need to carry out a no-knock entry, then an added level of approval is required. Specifically, both a federal prosecutor and a superior within the agency to the person seeking the warrant must authorize it – and then only if it’s deemed necessary to minimize the threat of harm, as noted above.

Can you help prevent a federal no-knock entry?

If you’re being investigated for a federal offense, you’re dealing with a serious matter. It’s crucial to have experienced legal guidance from the beginning. This can help you work to achieve the best possible outcome. It can also prevent federal law enforcement agents from determining that they need to show up at your door unannounced and in force – with or without knocking.