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Fraternity Fireworks Fight Leads Cops to Find Drug Stash

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By Andrew Lu on August 27, 2012 6:45 AM

What would be dumber than engaging in a full-blown fireworks fight with a neighbor only a few feet away from each other? Engaging in a fraternity fireworks fight while your houses are filled with illegal drugs, as two Miami University frats discovered.

A fraternity fireworks allegedly battle erupted between the neighboring Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Phi Kapp Tau frats, reports the Dayton Daily News. But when police came a knocking, they found a whole lot more than fireworks.

Police had originally responded to the scene after a fire alarm went off at one of the frats. When the police asked to come inside, they were denied admission, reports the Daily News. That's when the police went back and got themselves a search warrant that opened the doors to the two frats.

Generally, the police cannot enter private property if they do not have a search warrant or a reasonable belief that a crime is actively being committed. And once the police do obtain a search warrant, they usually face restrictions over where they can look and what they can look for.

In the case of the Miami University fraternity fireworks battle, the cops probably had a search warrant to look for illegal fireworks. However, after obtaining a search warrant and entering the frat houses, anything laying around in "plain view" is considered fair game. The rationale is that police should not turn a blind eye to something clearly illegal just because the illegal object was not subject to the search warrant.

After police came knocking without the search warrant due to the fraternity fireworks fight, the two frats had the good sense to turn them out. However, the Miami University students lacked the good sense to clean out the frats of incriminating evidence such as the unmarked bottles of pills, scales, bongs, grinders, bags of marijuana, and containers of white powder suspected to be cocaine, that were allegedly laying around.

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