Can Police Enter Your Home Without An Arrest Warrant In Pennsylvania ?
Are there exceptions to the Prohibition of police entering into a home without a warrant ?
The Supreme Court reviewed the law relating to a warrantless entry of a residence in Commonwealth v. Roland, 535 Pa. 595, 599-600, 637 A.2d 269 , 535 Pa. 595, 637 A.2d 269, 270-271 (1994):
In a private home, "searches and seizures without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable...."
Absent probable cause and exigent circumstances, the entry of a home without a warrant is prohibited under the Fourth Amendment.
In determining whether exigent circumstances exist, a number of factors are to be considered.
As stated in Commonwealth v. Wagner, 486 Pa. 548, 557, 406 A.2d 1026, 1031 (1979),
Among the factors to be considered are:
(1) the gravity of the offense;
(2) whether the suspect is reasonably believed to be armed;
(3) whether there is above and beyond a clear showing of probable cause;
(4) whether there is strong reason to believe that the suspect is within the premises being entered;
(5) whether there is a likelihood that the suspect will escape if not swiftly apprehended;
(6) whether the entry was peaceable;
(7) the time of the entry, i.e., whether it was made at night.
These factors are to be balanced against one another in determining whether the warrantless intrusion was justified.
Other factors may also be taken into account, such as whether there is hot pursuit of a fleeing felon, a likelihood that evidence will be destroyed if police take the time to obtain a warrant, or a danger to police or other persons inside or outside the dwelling.
Nevertheless, "police bear a heavy burden when attempting to demonstrate an urgent need that might justify warrantless searches or arrests."
As stated in Welsh v. Wisconsin, 466 U.S.  at 750-53, 104 S. Ct.  at 2098-99, 80 L. Ed. 2d  at 743-45,
Before agents of the government may invade the sanctity of the home, the burden is on the government to demonstrate exigent circumstances that overcome the presumption of unreasonableness that attaches to all warrantless home entries.
....It is difficult to conceive of a warrantless home arrest that would not be unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment when the underlying offense is extremely minor.
... Application of the exigent-circumstances exception in the context of a home entry should rarely be sanctioned when there is probable cause to believe that only a minor offense ... has been committed.
Section 6308 of the Vehicle Code, as amended, 75 Pa. C.S. 6308, provides in Subsection (b) that whenever a police officer is engaged in a systematic program of checking vehicles or drivers or has reasonable suspicion that a violation of the Vehicle Code is occurring or has occurred, he or she may stop a vehicle upon request or signal to check the vehicle's registration, proof of financial responsibility, vehicle identification number or engine number or the driver's license or to secure such other information as the officer may reasonably believe to be necessary to enforce the Vehicle Code
This provision authorizes stopping a vehicle on the road and checking information, but that is not what happened in this case.
Similarly, Sections 3743 and 3744 of the Vehicle Code, as amended, 75 Pa. C.S. 3743 and 3744, require the driver of a motor vehicle that is involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle or other property that is driven or attended by another person to remain at the scene and to provide his or her name, address, registration number of the vehicle and upon request to exhibit his or her driver's license and insurance information to the person attending the vehicle or to any police officer at the scene investigating the accident.
Nothing in these substantive provisions, however, states or implies that all normal rules regarding searches are simply abrogated if a police officer seeks this particular information.