You’ve always been a law-abiding citizen who has had no dealings with the police. Thus, you may not be aware of your rights should they ever turn up at your door.
Do you have to let them in? Will you get in trouble if you don’t? Are there any benefits to letting them in voluntarily? Outlined below are a few important factors to consider:
Your constitutional rights
The Fourth Amendment of the US constitution protects you from unlawful searches and seizures at your home address. It’s possible that the police may tell you that it is just a routine visit, but the reality is, if you have been identified as a suspect, then they will be looking for evidence.
If you give your consent for them to come in, you lose your Fourth Amendment protections. The better option may be to talk to them through the door or while outside, which you are perfectly entitled to do.
The use of search warrants
Law enforcement can enter your home without your permission if they have a valid search warrant. This must be signed by the relevant court, dated accurately and contain the address that they wish to search.
For instance, they cannot search your home if they have a search warrant for another family member’s address. If they intend to seize goods and property, then this must be itemized on the warrant.
How to protect your rights
When the police are at your door, you need to think about protecting yourself. Not consenting to a search could make or break your case. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Having legal guidance behind you will help you to assert your rights.