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Do you have to let the police come inside your home?

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

One question that people often have when a police officer knocks on the door is whether or not they have to let that officer inside. The officer may request politely to come in or it may sound more like a command. This can leave people wondering about exactly what they are obligated to do under the law.

First and foremost, you need to remember that you never have to give your consent to the police by saying that they can come into your house. This is your private space and you are fully within your rights to tell them that they are not allowed to come inside to talk to you, conduct a search or do anything else. 

Ask if they have a warrant

One of the ways that the police can come into your house without permission is by getting a warrant. This does force you to allow them inside because the judge is saying that they had probable cause to enter the home.

If you tell the police officer not to come in and they claim to have a warrant, then you can ask if you can see it so that you can assess the scope of that warrant. It may not say they can search the whole property, for instance, and it may tell them exactly what type of evidence they’re supposed to be looking for.

Is there an emergency?

In emergency situations, police also have the ability to enter homes without permission. An example could be a high-speed chase that ends at someone’s house. If the police believe the public is in danger or a crime is in progress, then they can use their discretion to decide if it’s time to enter your home, with or without your consent.

Of course, if they do this, they still have to show that it was justified in court. Be sure you know about all of your defense options.