Maybe the music was up too loud, or maybe someone you know has warrants. Maybe you have no idea why the police are at your door – but they are. They’ve asked your permission to step inside your home.
What do you do now? How do you handle the situation without getting into any kind of trouble? Here’s some information you can use:
If they don’t have a warrant, you have choices
If the police have a warrant, they probably won’t do you the courtesy of asking for permission to enter. A warrant means that they have enough probable cause to believe that something illegal is happening on the property or there is evidence there that they need to convince a judge to grant them the ability to search your property.
Without a warrant, the police can only enter your home under certain circumstances. Most commonly, that means getting your permission (or the permission of someone else who lives there) to enter. It’s your Fourth Amendment right to deny them entry – and that’s the best way to protect yourself from unexpected charges.
However, you need to be wary of even opening the door. One exception to the “rules” regarding police searches is called the “Plain View Doctrine.” This means that if the police spot something illegal through your open door (such as drugs, drug paraphernalia or weapons), they don’t need either your permission nor a warrant to investigate further.
You’re under no obligation to even speak with the police if they come to your door. Should you choose to do so, you may want to do it through your closed door. Alternatively, you could go outside through a back door and meet the police outside to discuss their concerns.
Generally speaking, if the police come to your door and start asking questions, they aren’t going to give up easily. Experienced legal guidance can help protect your interests whether you’re a suspect in a crime or merely a witness.