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Do you have to allow police officers into your home?

| Aug 14, 2020 | Firm News |

The presence of police officers at your door can be intimidating from the very first moment they arrive. They often announce their presence with a very loud knock on the door, possibly accompanied by a shout advising you that they are law enforcement.

When police officers show up at your home, the chances are good that they ask to be let inside, either to look around or to want to talk to you. Do you have to let officers in your house when they ask you to? What if you’re worried that they want to build a criminal case against you?

If they don’t have a warrant, you don’t have to let them in

As a general rule, police officers either need to suspect a crime in progress, have a warrant or have permission from the owner or tenant to enter a property. If officers want to talk to you, there is nothing stopping you from answering their questions out on your front stoop. In fact, you don’t have to agree to talk to them at all.

Once you let officers into your house, if they find anything that makes them suspect criminal activity, they can potentially keep searching even if you ask them to leave.

You can be polite without giving up your privacy

Some people worry about seeming aggressive or rude by refusing to let police into their house, but you have no assurance that the officers will respect your basic rights. You have a right to decide who comes into your home in most situations. Standing up for those rights can help keep you out of a situation where you lose control due to the manipulations of other people.