As a homeowner, you do have a right to privacy within your own home. Police officers may show up at your door wanting to talk with you, and they will ask for your consent to come inside. Don’t assume that you have to give them this consent or that you don’t really have a choice. You do, and you can tell them that you do not permit them to come into your home.
However, there are some situations in which the police can still enter even without getting your consent. It’s important to know what these are and to know if the police may have violated your rights by entering inappropriately. Thanks to the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, after all, illegally obtained evidence may not be used in court.
They have a search warrant
For one thing, police officers with a search warrant can use it to enter, even without your consent. It means that a judge has already approved this action. But even when police claim that they have a search warrant, it’s important for you to read it. Not only do you want to make sure that the warrant actually exists, but you may need to look into some of the limitations, such as restricting what police are looking for or where they are allowed to go in the house.
It is an emergency
A more complex situation is when the police claim there’s an emergency. They may say that there was a danger to the public, they were chasing a suspect, they thought a crime was in process or they were worried that evidence was being destroyed inside the house. They can use emergency situations as justification to enter a home, as there is clearly not enough time to get a warrant.
That said, just because the police claim that there was an emergency doesn’t mean this is necessarily true. It could still be a violation of your rights if they forced their way into your home, and you must know about your criminal defense options.