(WASHINGTON) -- Cops suspecting illegal drug use in private residences got a boost on Monday from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The justices said that police have the right to break into a home if there is reasonable suspicion that those inside are trying to destroy evidence. The vote was eight-to-one.
The case involved a Kentucky man who sold crack cocaine to an informant. When police chased down the suspect to an apartment building, they knocked on a door after smelling marijuana and yelled "Police Police Police."
Hearing activity inside the apartment, the cops broke down the door and arrested another man for smoking pot and possessing powdered cocaine.
While the suspect was convicted of drug trafficking, the Kentucky Supreme Court determined police violated his Fourth Amendment right against "unreasonable searches and seizures."
However, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that decision, ruling that police officers, even without search warrants, have the right to enter homes after knocking if they believe evidence is being destroyed.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the lone dissenter, said the Fourth Amendment was violated because "Police officers may not knock, listen and then break the door down."
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio