You may simply be watching your favorite television program one night when suddenly you hear a knock on the door. It is the police, and they are demanding to enter your home. Do you have to let them in? What if they question you? Interactions with the police in Kansas City can be intimidating and frightening, especially if you have done nothing wrong. The following is a brief overview of your search and seizure rights if you are confronted by police at your doorway.
Missouri search and seizure laws
It is common knowledge that federal law prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Missouri law also addresses search and seizure rights. Under Missouri law, your person, papers, home, effects and electronic data are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. To search a residence or seize something therein, police must have a warrant that describes where the search is to take place, what is to be seized and there must be probable cause for the search and seizure.
For example, if there is no evidence that you committed a crime, and police do not have an arrest warrant, the seizure of objects in your home is prohibited. If police do seize items in your home under such circumstances, these are considered “fruits of the poisonous tree.” Basically, this means that the items seized cannot be used as evidence against you in a court of law.
What to do when police knock on your door
If the police knock on your door and ask to come in it is important to stay calm. They do not have authority to come into your home unless they have a search warrant, an arrest warrant or a warrant of removal. A search warrant allows police to enter your home to locate specific items listed in the warrant. An arrest warrant allows police to enter your residence only if you specifically are named in the warrant and the police have reason to believe you are in your home at the time of entry. Even if the police do have a valid warrant, you still have the right to remain silent. If you want to speak to the police, do it outside your home.
You have rights when inside your home
You have rights when you are inside your private home. While there are some exceptions to that permit warrantless searches and seizures, in general police need a warrant to search your home and seize you or items therein. By understanding your constitutional rights, you can recognize if you are being subjected to a wrongful search or seizure. It is okay if you need to seek help to protect your rights and freedom.