Finch v. State

In Finch v. State, 592 P.2d 1196 (Alaska 1979), the Alaska Supreme Court set out the criteria for determining when a warrantless search is permissible under the destruction of evidence exception. The basic rule is that the police must have probable cause to believe that the evidence is present, coupled with good reason to conclude that the evidence will be destroyed or removed before a search warrant can be obtained. In assessing the second part of this test, courts must consider "the degree of urgency involved; the amount of time that would be necessary to secure a warrant; the possibility of danger to police officers guarding the site while a warrant is sought; the likelihood that the possessors of the evidence are aware the police are on their trail; and whether the evidence is readily destructible." Finch, 592 P.2d at 1198.