First of all, don’t be frightened or intimidated by police officers at your front door. Remember the power of the 4th amendment is very powerful. Without a signed search warrant by a magistrate, hot pursuit of a felon, they see some type of illegal activity in plain view, or an emergency situation police officers can not enter your home without your consent.
Officer Do You Have A Warrant? No? Well Good Day!
Even if the police officers are at your door and claim they have probable cause, the home is entitled to the maximum protection by the 4th amendment. Unless the police have a signed search warrant, or if any of the aforementioned things occur then they can only be let into your house if you give consent. If police say they will go get a warrant unless you let them in, then you should inform them that is what they must do. You should then immediately call an attorney.
Never Let Police Officers Inside
If you look outside your door and police officers are at your door you have a few choices.
- If you think they will try to force themselves into the house you can step outside and close the door behind you
- You can refuse to come to the door if you don’t require their assistance and they do not have a warrant
- If you have a chain, you can speak between that gap
- You can let them in your house for milk and cookies
(We advise against option 4)
Determine the Reason for the Visit
It’s also important to treat the police with respect. At times when police officers are at your door it is to warn you of dangerous thing/person in the area or they are looking for a criminal who may be close by, or it’s a simple warning about a noise complaint. Don’t jump to conclusions. Simply inquire why they are at your door and how you could help them. However, if a police officer wants to investigate activities or ask to take a look around your house your should remain silent, and the only words you should utter to them is that you can’t let them in unless they have a signed search warrant. Then contact an attorney and do not speak to the police again. Remember you do not have to consent to a police doing any dog sniffs on your property as well nor do you have to provide ID. Please take all this advice in when police are at your door.