Think Before Dialing 911

pittsburgh criminal defenseSo you’ve got a top notch security system at your home. Any problems, it automatically calls 911, the police, etc. Pretty great, unless you have an illegal grow operation in your basement, or maybe just a penchant for leaving your cocaine laying around in plain view from last night’s festivities. Even something as simple as a weed pipe carelessly left in view on the coffee table can open a can of worms once a 911 emergency response is filed. It will be followed up on.

In the case of a home security alert, the Police will definitely respond. Even in a ‘normal’ 911 call, most cities require both police and paramedics to respond. Once 911 is called, the police have pretty much free reign to come into a home and give it a visual once over. Depending on the nature of the call, they may even go further, especially if there is suspected weapons or drugs. Once they see something, like that pipe on the table, they have probable cause. By calling 911, you have basically invited them into your home and that pipe, or that odor of weed, or that meth lab smell, is gonna make them suspicious.

Frankly, if you’re in that kind of business, your home security system might be better off dialing the Bada Bing Strip Club office line than the Police, if you know what I mean.

Things you should never say to your significant other during an argument, especially if you have an illegal grow operation, might include, “Go ahead and call the cops! See if I care. I didn’t do anything wrong!”


In the heat of the moment, you may have both forgotten about your gardening hobby, and now you have about 10-15 minutes to tear it down and remove all the evidence. Not likely.

How about a property dispute that escalates until you mention your 12 gauge shotgun, at which point the other party decides to call the police?

Fighting with the neighbors, leaving your yard unattended until it becomes a nuisance property, an overly loud dog… there are countless ways to get caught doing something illegal in your own home, but the worst is when you call the police on yourself.

I have a client that refers to the moments before calling 911 as, ‘Cleanup on Aisle 13’– Taking a minute to look around and making certain nothing is left in view that you don’t want to be seen.

Marijuana may be a harmless drug, but it’s still illegal in Pennsylvania, and unfortunately, it can be quite harmful when it comes to the justice system.

This is an example of where an attorney is absolutely required to go over the procedures and make certain everything was done by the book. That pipe on the table makes that job a lot harder.

So next time you feel the need to call 911, and it’s not an actual life-or-death situation, think it over first. Calling the Police during an argument often leads to a situation far worse than the argument.

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