No one enjoys when law enforcement comes knocking, but it is a reality that many people have to face every day.
It is thus important for everyone to understand their rights in the face of an officer coming to the door. How should you deal with it, and how much are they allowed to do?
Reasons for police to enter your home
Flex Your Rights discusses a situation in which police may come to the door. First, if authorities do not have a search warrant, then they have no right to enter your home. The other two other ways they may enter are:
- If they have reason to believe that a crime or another illegal activity is in the process of happening within the home, such as seeing drug paraphernalia or hearing screaming or fighting
- If someone inside of the home invites them in
Note that for the second one, the homeowner does not need to be the one doing the inviting. This means that if your houseguests, family or friends do not understand their rights, they could end up jeopardizing the house by inviting in a police officer.
Officers may use different ways to get inside of your home, such as stating that they are doing a check for new safety systems or that they want to discuss local problems in the neighborhood.
Choosing how to address police
It is well within your rights to meet them on the porch, or simply speak to them through a window or the door itself. In fact, you do not even have to answer the door for police without a warrant. These are all crucial pieces of information to keep in mind.