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Do you have to let the police into your home?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | Criminal Defense

It is natural to be concerned about letting the police inside your home. Maybe you simply don’t enjoy feeling obligated to let anyone in your house, as it is your private property. Maybe you are worried that the police are going to make a false arrest or look for excuses to arrest you once they get inside. Perhaps you are concerned for your safety, which is a valid concern in the United States, where over 1,000 people are killed by the police every year.

Regardless of the reason, if a police officer asks to come inside, are you legally allowed to tell them no? Or do you have to let them in your house?

Do they have a search warrant?

The biggest question to ask is whether or not the police have a warrant. If not, they can request to come inside and seek your consent. But you’re not obligated to give them consent. You can tell the officer that you’d rather they stay outside or that you would like them to leave. If they want to talk to you in your home, you could also come outside to talk to them, keeping them out of your property. 

If the police claim there is an emergency situation, then there are some exceptions to this rule. Even without a warrant, the police may claim that the emergency meant they had to act quickly and so there was no time to get a warrant to overrule the lack of consent. But they will still have to show that these actions were justified in court if you get arrested as a result.

This can be a complex legal situation. If you’re facing charges, be sure you know what legal steps to take.