If the police show up at your door, knocking and asking to come inside, you may feel like you’re obligated to allow them to do so. Generally speaking, people usually feel like the police have a position of authority and that it gives them the ability to make these types of demands.
But does it? Do you have to do what the officer says just because he or she is a member of the local police department? Or do you have a right to tell them to leave? It is your home, after all, a place where you have an expectation of privacy and security.
Do the police have a warrant?
In a situation like this, no question is more important than whether or not the police have a warrant to enter your home. If they do, they may still ask to come in first, but they are allowed to execute that warrant even if you say no. They can come in against your wishes.
If they do not have a warrant, however, they typically cannot enter your house unless you give your consent. In some rare circumstances, they may be able to do so, such as if they are actively chasing a felony suspect or responding to an emergency for which there is no time to wait. But they will have to go to court after the fact and show that their decision was justified, so they can’t just enter your home at any time and then make up an excuse about an emergency.
Did the police violate your rights?
If the police did not have a warrant and you did not give your consent, and they entered your home anyway, they may have violated your rights. If you’ve been arrested as a result, you must know what legal defense options you have.