It often feels like you have to do what the police say if they give you instructions or ask a question. And this is sometimes true. If you get pulled over by the police and they ask for your license and registration, you are legally obligated to give it to them. They are in a position of authority.
But this does not mean that all instructions from the police have to be followed to the letter or that they are free to do as they please. An example of this is if a police officer comes to your door and asks for consent to come inside and have a look around. They may also just ask to come in and talk, hoping that they can see some evidence of criminal activity in plain view. But you are within your rights to tell them that they cannot enter your home, and they can’t arrest you simply for doing so.
There are exceptions
One important thing to know about how these limitations work is that there are some exceptions. For instance, in an emergency, the police are sometimes allowed to enter a home without consent. But they will likely need to show after the fact that doing so was necessary. They may be trying to protect the public, stop a crime in progress or something of this nature.
Another exception is just when the police follow the proper steps and get a search warrant. They may still ask for consent first, but they can enter with the warrant, even if you don’t give them consent. As a homeowner in this position, it may be wise to ask if you can see the warrant to understand what restrictions it may have.
If you do find yourself facing arrest, the way that the police entered your home gathered evidence is quite important. Make sure you understand all of your legal defense options.