As an American citizen, you know that your home is considered your private space. You have an expectation to privacy and this is one place in the world where you control who enters and exits exclusively. You have the final say.
But does that still hold true if the police come to your door? Or do you have to do what they say? Do you have to let them into the home or can you deny them entry?
To understand exactly how this situation should play out, here are three different ways that police can enter someone’s house.
They get your consent
First and foremost, the police may ask to come into your house. They’re just trying to get your consent so they can come in and carry out a search. You can remove your consent at any time, even after you’ve given it.
But always remember that you don’t have to give consent. No matter what the police officer says, you’re not obligated to allow them inside. You can always refuse and you cannot be arrested for doing so.
They have a warrant
If they have a warrant, then you may have to let them inside, but not because you’re giving them consent. The warrant itself is able to override your lack of consent. So you can deny the police entry, but if the warrant still says that they can come inside and conduct a search, then they’re allowed to do so. Remember that warrants tend to have some restrictions in terms of what the police are looking for or where they are allowed to go. It is wise to ask to see the warrant if they claim to have one.
It’s an emergency situation
One of the most problematic ways that police officers can enter a home is when they say that there was an emergency. This can get complicated because you may not agree with their claims. But, if they think there is an emergency – something that presents a danger to the public, for instance, or an action that may prevent them from collecting evidence – then they can come into the house and show this probable cause to the court at a later date.
What options do you have?
No matter how the police enter your home, it is important to make sure that they’ve done everything properly and to understand the legal options at your disposal.