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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27088
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Hello, I own a 2-Family home that I inherited from my mother

Resolved Question:

Hello, I own a 2-Family home that I inherited from my mother 6 years ago. My sister lives in the house rent free as per the will .(life estate)
During Hurricane Sandy the power in the area was out for over a week and the weather was cold. To keep my sister from becoming ill with no heat or electricity, my wife brought her to stay in our home in another town. My wife left a large note on entrance door with this info and our home phone number.
While the house was unoccupied, the Town's Police & Fire Dept.removed the 2nd. Fl. door and entered the house per the next door neighbor. They searched the House from Attic down to basement looking for my mom. (per police who answered my inquiry later). After entering my house the Fire Official who is also the Building Inspector in this town, saw I have started renovating without proper permit. He gave me a Fine for not having proper permits, and is now harassing me continually after I applied for said permits with normal paperwork, drawings, etc. He has insisted on my obtaining one thing after another , causing me extra costs not usual for this permit. Without this is sight , I am still unhappy about his entering my house without my permission and now using what they found against me, even though I was in violation of not having a permit for the second floor. He told us he searched the Attic and on down to basement for my mother, dead over 6 years. Please help me with this, thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

JD 1992 :

I need you to be a little more specific in your question(s) if you could. When we answer general ones we have to give general answers and, invariably, the customer responds with "I already knew that". This type of forum works better if you ask specific questions so we know exactly what you are looking for.

Customer:

Specifically, if the police enter your house without a search warrant and find you doing work on it without permits from the town, can this information be used against you.? such as the fines the Building Inspector (also the Fire Chief ) has placed on us, and asking us to get special inspections, an architect that cost us close to $2000, etc. And did they have the right to enter the house in the first place??

JD 1992 :

Yes, the information can be used against you assuming that there is a valid reason for the search.

JD 1992 :

If they truly were checking on someone's welfare then it was valid.

JD 1992 :

However, if they were just poking around it was not.

Customer:

The Building Inspector who is also the Fire Chief claims that the police went to the house to look for Ethel, my mom , who has been dead for over 5 years. According to this inspector , the police could not get into the house to check for said person so they called the Fire dept. to bring in a hook & ladder so they could get into the house on the second floor. He claimed they removed the door from its hinges to get inside. Actually, the hinges are on the inside of the door! Secondly, as stated before, my wife left a taped note to window with my phone number in case someone was looking for my sister . My wife took the note off herself with my sister when she returned her to the house. My sister lives on first floor since 1980 with my mother. Again ,my mother is dead over 6 yrs. Also, there was no reason to check for my mother in my house since the neighbor who called me also has my phone number. Their is no oriental person on this quiet block who knew my mother and many inhabitants were not home because of lack of electricity.

JD 1992 :

Have you contested the citation in court?

Customer:

What valid reason could the police have to go into the house without a search warrant in a quiet neighborhood and small town. Why wouldnt they call us first since my phone number was there on door and neighbor whose house borders my driveway was home? Also , if building inspector was working as Fireman at time, why should he be allowed to fine us for tearing down old walls.?

Customer:

No, then we would have to pay for a live legal representative. Before we do that , we decided to try your site

JD 1992 :

The only way to raise the issue is by challenging the citation. It sounds to me like you have grounds.

JD 1992 :

The role of inspector v. fireman isn't an issue.

JD 1992 :

I have no idea why they wouldn't call you since your name was on the paper.

Customer:

The amount of the citation hasnt been determined yet. After the first letter from the building inspector , I went and spoke with him and asked him why he entered my house. He said" an oriental woman called and said my mother was in house" Many homes were empty because of no heat and electricity. The only reason we knew is because the neighbor was checking her house. And called me at work.

JD 1992 :

If you had a note on the front door you would think they would check the door first and then call. However, I have learned never to underestimate the unreasonableness of people in positions of a little authority.

Customer:

When I told him my Mom was dead, he said "OH Well" . and told me to file for permits. I filed for them in November but he keeps giving me more things to get for permit. He told me the fine will be anywhere from $1000 to $5000

Customer:

So, do we have a case of Unlawful entry or search or whatever its called?

JD 1992 :

I think you have grounds to challenge the search, definitely.

JD 1992 :

I've never seen a case where an illegal search resulted in a need for permits but if they had discovered a murder weapon or something they couldn't use the murder weapon as evidence so I think the same principle would apply.

Customer:

There were many people not in their homes, why would they have a reason to search for a dead person? Their tax records have me on their account for years.

JD 1992 :

You're asking me things I can't explain. Their actions don't make any sense.

Customer:

Also, my wife called the Weekend before and gave our numbers for any emergency.

JD 1992 :

Makes no sense.

Customer:

So , before I end, do you think I might be justified in seeking a lawyer to follow up on this.?> I dont have extra finances to waste with my sisters place and my home needing constant upkeep, esp my sisters where I found a fire in attic from years ago after a renter left. This started the renovation.l But I want to feel it is justified to question their motives in court,s since we are law abiding citizens.

JD 1992 :

Yes, I think you should get a lawyer. At least let them look at it and see what they think the judge would do.

JD 1992 :

The way they handled things is just wrong.

Customer:

Thank you , do we get a civil lawyer, or what

JD 1992 :

I'd talk to a lawyer that does criminal work. At heart this case is about suppressing a search.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX look for one.

JD 1992 :

Best wishes to you.

JD 1992 :

Please ask any follow up questions in this thread. When all of your questions have been answered, then I would ask that you give a Positive Rating (of course I'd suggest Excellent) since that is the only way I get credit for my work and also please consider clicking "BONUS" as a nice way of saying "thanks" for a job well done, although this is neither required nor expected. When looking at the answer I ask you to bear in mind I can’t control what the law is and whether it helps you, I can only tell you what it says, and I assume you want truthful information.


 


However, please do not issue a rating of any kind until all of your questions have been answered and please use the Reply button to ask additional questions or to provide answers to my questions.

Customer:

How do I go about looking for the right lawyer since I havent used one since my mom died? (sorry)

JD 1992 :

No problem. Go to www.lawyers.com. They allow you to search by geographic area and area of specialty.

JD 1992 :

None of them are going to like what they did.

Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27088
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
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