Seeing a police officer at your door can be scary. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, the presence of a police officer can make you uneasy.
It is natural to get anxious when in an unexpected situation involving a police officer. This anxiety may cause you to automatically follow the instructions of the police officer. You might let them into your house or start answering their questions. You should not do either.
Police officers cannot enter your house without a warrant. There are some exceptions to this rule, but under most circumstances, police officers must obtain a warrant before coming into your house.
Ask to see the warrant
The first thing you should do when a police officer is at your door is ask if they have a warrant. If they do not, and come into your house anyway, this could be a violation of your civil rights.
If the police officer does have a warrant, ask to see the warrant before saying anything else or letting them into your house. You can ask them to slide it under your door or show it to you.
The scope of warrants
There are different types of warrants. A police officer can come into your house with an arrest warrant only if they have reason to believe the person they are trying to arrest is inside your house.
A search warrant allows the police officer to come into your house. Read the warrant and verify that it is your address on it.
If so, you can then let the police officer into your house. However, they do not have permission to search every single area of your house. They can only search for the items listed in the warrant in the locations they are expected to be.
There are exceptions to this rule as well, such as if the police believe evidence may be destroyed if they do not get to it or they are protecting their safety or the safety of others.
The warrant must be executed properly
Search warrants play a major role in criminal cases. If you are arrested as the result of a search warrant, you should make sure the search was legal and know the specific scope of the warrant. Attacking a warrant is one way to defend yourself against criminal charges.