Citizens in the United States have a right to privacy in their own homes, and they cannot be victimized by illegal searches or seizures. As a result, police officers generally need to have a warrant in order to go into someone’s home. A warrant is given out by the court when the officer is able to show a valid reason to go into someone else’s residence.
But there is always the chance that a police officer will show up at your door without a warrant. Can they still enter your home?
They will ask for consent
There are a few ways in which a police officer can enter your home without a warrant, and the first is simply by getting your consent. This is why the officer will likely knock on the door and simply ask to come inside to talk to you. They’re trying to get your permission to come into the home. One alternative to this is to simply exit out a different door, walk around the house, and talk to the officer outside. But you’re fully within your rights to simply refuse consent if you’d like to do so.
They may be able to enter in an emergency
The police also do have some ability to come into your home in what they consider an emergency situation. Perhaps they think that a crime is actively taking place in your house or that someone is going to be harmed or even killed if they don’t intervene. One thing to know about this type of entrance is that they will need to show that they had probable cause to enter the home without a warrant later on. If it turns out that they did not have a valid reason, then evidence gathered during that search can be thrown out of court.
How should you interact with the police?
So what should you do if the police come to the door? One of the first things to do is simply to ask them if they already have a warrant so that you know where you stand. You then have to weigh your options and decide if you want to consent to let them in the house or not. Always try to be polite and don’t escalate the situation, but remember that you don’t necessarily have to do what they tell you and you don’t have to let them in just because they asked.
If you do end up facing arrest, then it’s time to begin looking into all of your legal defense options.