Often, people who find police officers at the door assume that they have to do whatever those officers say. The idea that the police are in authority runs deep. When the officers ask to come inside and talk to you or have a look around, you feel like you have no choice.
But do you? Can you tell them that they’re not allowed in your house?
Police can typically only enter in two ways
Generally, there are two legal ways for police to enter your home. The first is with your consent, which they’ll probably try to get first. This is why they have to ask to come inside.
If you say no, you’re fully within your rights to do so. This changes things so that the police now have to obtain a warrant to enter without your permission. If they cannot get a warrant or at least do not have one at with them, they cannot come in. You can also ask to see the warrant if they claim they have one — though lying about a warrant would still make any evidence they find inside inadmissible in court.
There are a few exceptions, such as if the police are in hot pursuit of a suspect, if they believe someone is in danger or if they think that criminal activity — such as destroying evidence — is taking place. They will need to show that such actions were reasonable under the circumstances.
If the police do enter your home and you end up getting arrested and/or facing charges, it’s important to determine whether or not law enforcement officers acted legally. An experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance.