The first situation in which the police can enter your home is if there’s some sort of emergency. When a crime is in process, officers have a lot of leeway to simply enter buildings to try to prevent any harm to the public.
But what about if there’s no emergency? Say that a police officer simply comes to your house and knocks on the door. If they request to come in, are they allowed to? What are your obligations in a situation like this?
You can give consent
What the officer is looking for is your consent to enter the home. They may say that they just want to talk to you or take a look around. They know that they can investigate any evidence they find in plain view, so they’re trying to get a foot in the door.
If you give them your consent, then they are allowed to come into your home. You’re also allowed to give consent to certain parts of your home. You could allow an officer to stand in the hallway and talk to you, but you can tell them that they can’t search your entire house, for instance.
They can get a warrant
If you don’t give consent, then the officer is not legally allowed to enter your house without a warrant. They will have to go before a judge and demonstrate that a warrant is necessary to override that lack of consent. This is not something that is done lightly, so the officer will have to provide some reasoning behind the request. But if they get the warrant, then they can come inside even if you tell them that you still don’t allow it.
If you’re facing charges and you believe the officers may have violated your rights with an illegal search, make sure that you know what steps to take.