If you hear a knock at the door, you probably have a number of questions. Who is it at the door? Are they here for positive reasons, or is something wrong? Are you safe? If the person knocking at your door is a police officer, you probably have a variety of other questions. Knowing your rights when the police come knocking can be essential.
What rights do you have if the police come to your home?
First and foremost, you do not have to let them into your home without a warrant. The authorities may also enter your home if they believe that a crime is currently occurring inside. Otherwise, officers need your consent to come inside your house or apartment.
Remember that a warrant does not necessarily allow the police to enter your home. A search warrant allows them to search the home listed in the warrant, and an arrest warrant only allows them to enter your home if they suspect that the person listed is in your home.
Speaking to the police through the door will give you the chance to determine why they are there. If they say that they have a warrant, you can also ask them to slide a warrant under the door or hold it up to the window. This allows you to verify the information they have given.
You may also speak to the police outdoors, but take care not to leave your door open. If the officers have a line of sight into your home, they could claim that they saw illegal activity inside and enter without your consent.
If the police question you, stay calm. You can choose to remain silent and speak to an attorney before answering their questions. By taking care, you can protect your rights when the police stop at your home.