Exigent Circumstances

Definition - What does Exigent Circumstances mean?

Exigent circumstances are circumstances that are so extraordinary or emergency oriented that they allow the usual legal protocols to be removed. For example, normally a police officer cannot search a vehicle without a warrant or probable cause. However, if there is an accident and a car is flipped over and on fire, then this would be an exigent circumstance that would legally allow a police officer to break into the vehicle and search for survivors.

Justipedia explains Exigent Circumstances

Basically, an exigent circumstance is just a highly unusual or dangerous circumstance which allows law enforcement personnel to be able to do things they normally couldn't do. Exigent circumstances can exist if a person's life is in danger, if crucial evidence is about to be destroyed, if there is an immediate threat to the public, etc. The reason why legal protocols are suspended during exigent circumstances is because the resolution of the immediate conflict is believed to be of a higher priority.

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