Virginia no longer allows law enforcement officials to use no-knock warrants. This new measure occurred in conjunction with several other police reform measures, and it went into effect as of March 1, 2021.
According to ABC 8 News, Virginia is now the third state in the U.S. to ban no-knock warrants. This new measure is Breonna’s Law after Breonna Taylor, who died after law enforcement officials entered her apartment and fatally shot her during a drug dealing investigation in 2020.
What are no-knock warrants?
Prior to the enactment of this law, a judge could enact a no-knock warrant in cases where a prior announcement to entering a home or space could result in the destruction of evidence or danger to those involved. Generally, a judge would issue a no-knock warrant in criminal cases dealing with weapons or drugs.
Procedure for law enforcement
Now that Breonna’s Law is in effect, law enforcement officials must wear their uniforms and be recognizable before entering a property as part of a warrant. They must also provide an audible notice that alerts those inside a property that they will execute a search warrant. This notice must be loud enough for those inside to reasonably hear the announcement.
Other measures that went into effect at the same time as this legislation included a law that bans the use of neck restraints by law enforcement and the implementation of the Marcus Alert system. As part of this system, mental health providers can attend crisis situations when police receive notice of a crime.