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Do you have to let the police into your home?

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

You hear a knock on the door and you look out the front window before opening it. There’s a police car sitting in the driveway, so you know that an officer is likely standing on your front step. You open the door just a crack to talk to them.

The officer tells you that they would like to come inside. Maybe they say they want to take a look around. Maybe they just want to ask you a few questions. They seem friendly enough, but it makes you feel a bit nervous to let them into your house. Do you have to allow them to come inside just because they’re with the police department?

They still need your consent

A police officer can’t order you to let them inside, nor can they force their way into your house. They still have to get your consent first. If the officer has asked if they can come in, you are fully within your rights to tell them that no, they cannot.

In some cases, officers will say that there’s an emergency, and then they may be able to enter without consent. A common example of this is if they’re in hot pursuit of someone in a car, and that person gets out of their vehicle and runs into your house. The police may be able to enter without asking permission.

Additionally, they can override the lack of consent if they have a search warrant. But even a warrant will have some restrictions. For example, it may tell them what evidence they can search for and what parts of your home they are allowed to enter. If police claim to have a warrant, it may be wise to ask to see it.

Your defense options

If you do end up getting arrested or if you are the subject of a police investigation, then you need to know about all of your legal options