Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Curtilage--So You Do Not Have To Look It Up

The curtilage is an important legal term to define the land immediately surrounding a house or dwelling, including any closely associated buildings and structures, but excluding any associated 'open fields beyond'. It defines the boundary within which a home owner can have a reasonable expectation of privacy and where 'intimate home activities' take place. It is an important legal concept in some jurisdictions for the understanding of burglary, trespass, and in relation to planning controls.

In urban properties the location of the curtilage may be evident from the position of fences, wall and similar; within larger properties it may be a matter of some legal debate as to where the private area ends and the 'open fields' start.[1]

Curtilage in United States law

This distinction is important in United States law for cases dealing with burglary and with self-defense under the "Castle Doctrine." In some state law, such as Florida, burglary encompasses the English common law definition and adds (among other things) curtilage to the protected area of the dwelling into which intrusion is prohibited. Similarly, under Florida's Castle Doctrine a home-owner does not have to retreat within the curtilage.

The boundary between the home and the curtilage that surrounds it, on the one hand, and the open fields beyond the curtilage, on the other, is also important for the application of the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment applies only to the "home," which courts have construed to include the area immediately surrounding the house in which the intimate home activities occur, but not to the open fields beyond. The requirement that law enforcement officers obtain a warrant before searching a suspect's home extends, therefore, to the curtilage, but not to private property beyond the curtilage, even if their access to such "open fields" without the owner's permission would constitute a trespass. [2]

In United States v. Dunn, the Supreme Court identified four factors as critical when assessing the limits of curtilage: "the proximity of the area claimed to be curtilage to the home, whether the area is included wit


Anonymous said...

وقد حرق الصفن الخاص بك مع غضب الله

Anonymous said...

أود الحلوى!