People v. Kozlowski – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In People v. Kozlowski (69 NY2d 761, 505 NE2d 611, 513 NYS2d 101 [1987]), the defendant challenged his convictions for driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a property damage accident on the grounds that his statements to police at his home were the result of a warrantless, nonconsensual entry into his home in order to make an arrest.

Said the Court:

"Nor were defendant's constitutional rights violated when the officer investigating the reported traffic incident entered upon defendant's property, knocked on the front door, and asked questions which defendant chose to answer. The police officer reached defendant's front door by the means defendant had made available for public access to his house, and did not intrude into any area in which defendant had a legitimate expectation of privacy. Absent evidence of intent to exclude the public, the entryway to a person's house offers implied permission to approach and knock on the front door. Thus, where (as here) the police utilized an unobstructed access to defendant's home for the purpose of making inquiry, no warrant was required by the State or Federal Constitution" (id. at 763 ).