Legal Question in Constitutional Law in New Hampshire

Probable Cause?

Last month my home alarm system went off one evening at 2:00AM. When the local police arrived they entered my home and checked the premises. They ascertained that it was a false alarm. During their check of the home, an officer asked me for my full name and date of birth. Was the officer running a check on me and is this legal? I was wondering if their entering the property gave them the probable cause to do a background check on me. I found it interesting that they did not ask the same information of my wife.

Asked on 11/21/04, 8:28 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Re: Probable Cause?

Presumably the police have not memorized the faces of everyone whose house has an alarm system like yours. For all they knew, you might have been a burglar pretending to be the homeowner. These questions were probably just a way to confirm that you were who you claimed to be, since burglars probably would not know the details of your life. I imagine that the alarm company gave the police details like your birthdate for precisely this reason.

Even if that is not the reason, police do not need probable cause to do a background check. Probable cause is only necessary for a detention.

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Answered on 11/21/04, 4:05 pm

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