Your home is your castle. It’s your sanctuary. It’s where you and your family feel safe and secure.
But do the police have to respect that? If an officer arrives at your house and wants to come inside, can you stop them? And, if you do, can they get into the house without your consent?
People often neglect to consider this until the moment that it is happening, and then they’re not sure what to do. They don’t know if they can tell the officers to stay outside or if they simply have to do what the police say because the police are in an authority position. As such, let’s take a moment to consider where you stand.
3 ways to enter
Typically, there are three ways that police can enter your home. They are:
- Getting your consent
- Getting a search warrant
- Entering in an emergency
The first is simple. If the police knock, they can ask to come in with or without a reason. It’s up to you. If you consent, though, that entry is legal.
If you do not consent, the next option is to get a warrant. To do it, the police need to go to a judge and show why a search is necessary. They generally need some type of evidence to support them, showing reasonable suspicion. If they have recordings of you talking about selling drugs, for instance, they may be able to enter to search for those drugs.
Finally, emergencies sometimes allow them to enter without consent or a warrant. They could believe you have evidence that you are destroying, for example, or that you are actively committing a crime at that moment. These cases are a bit tricky, though, and they will have to show after the fact that it was a real emergency.
Hopefully, the above gives you a better idea of what your rights are and how the police may violate them during a search. If you are facing any criminal charges as a result, be sure you look into your legal options.