Knock and Announce Statute District of Columbia

The knock and announce statute reduces the potential for violence to both police officers and the occupants of the house into which entry is sought; it guards against the needless destruction of private property; and it symbolizes the respect for individual privacy summarized in the adage that "a man's or woman's house is his or her castle." Poole, 630 A.2d at 1116 However, there are two broad exceptions to the knock and announce statute which, if circumstances warrant, allow the police to forcibly enter a home without waiting for an actual reply from the occupant. Culp v. United States, 624 A.2d 460, 462 (D.C. 1993). The first exception is based on the concept of constructive refusal. If the police can reasonably infer from the actions or inactions of the occupants that they have been refused admission, the police may enter without waiting for an actual reply. Id. The second exception is based on exigent circumstances. The exigent circumstances exception to the knock and announce statute is codified at D.C. Code 23-524 (a), which explicitly requires the execution of a warrant in accordance with 18 U.S.C. 3109. Under this theory, the police may enter a home to execute a warrant without waiting for a reply if they have reason to believe that the occupants are destroying evidence or if there is reason to believe that the officers executing the warrant are in danger. Id.