State v. Cheek

In State v. Cheek, 199 W. Va. 21, 483 S.E.2d 21 (1996), police officers suspected that the defendant had been driving under the influence, went to his home, detected the odor of alcohol, and executed a warrantless arrest after pulling him from his house into the front yard. The Court found that the arrest was illegal, explaining: Although the State maintains that the metabolism of alcohol created an exigent circumstance, the officers did not have reasonable grounds based on their investigation before the arrest to use the metabolism of alcohol as an exigent circumstance. Because Mr. Cheek was in his home, he was not liable to flee, destroy evidence or endanger the safety or property of others; especially with the two officers outside. Finally, we note that although the responding officers were on foot patrol, by the time Mr. Cheek was arrested, a third officer in a cruiser was present. Given the communications which must have occurred to bring the additional officer to the scene, the responding officers could have obtained an arrest warrant and probably would have if probable cause existed at that time to arrest Mr. Cheek for driving under the influence. (199 W. Va. at 26-27, 483 S.E.2d at 26-27.)