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When do you have to let the police into your home?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If you find a police officer at your door, asking to come inside, you may feel nervous to tell them that you would rather that they didn’t do so. Some people even think that they’re obligated to let the police inside — as if they have no choice.

It’s important to understand that this is not true. In many cases, you do not have to let the police inside. All they are doing is asking for your consent, but it is not a criminal offense to refuse to give them that consent. It is still your home, and you have a right to decide who enters. Without your permission, the police cannot come inside.

Executing a search warrant.

Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule. The most notable is that police with a search warrant can come inside a home even without consent. The reason for this is that they have gotten permission from a judge. They had to show the judge that they had reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was occurring, and the judge can then give them permission to enter the building even without the homeowner’s approval.

Another exception is if there is an emergency scenario and the police do not have time to get a warrant. An example of this could be if they believe someone in the home is in danger or if they are pursuing a suspect who has entered the home. But even in an emergency scenario, the police do have to show in court that it really was an emergency, or they may have violated your rights.

If you do believe that the police unlawfully entered your house while making an arrest or gathering evidence, then it’s critical to understand exactly what defense options you have.