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What should you do if the police knock on your door?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense

An unexpected visit from law enforcement can be nerve-wracking and intimidating. What should you do if the police knock on your door? Many people lack knowledge about their rights when it comes to a police presence on their property.

Understand your legal rights and exercise them if you get a visit from the police.

You do not have to answer the door

You might believe that, if the police knock on your door, you have an obligation to answer it. That is not the case. Opening your door provides police the opportunity to see inside your home and potentially find probable cause to enter based on something in plain view or reasonable suspicion. Instead, if the officer at your door does not have a warrant, you can choose to ignore the knock or step outside and close the door behind you.

Ask for the warrant

If you acknowledge the police at your door, the first thing you should do is ask if they have a warrant. You do not have to open the door to do this. You can ask through a window and they can show you the paper copy of the warrant at the window. If you have a chain lock on your door, you can leave the chain locked and only open the door a crack to ask for the warrant. If they do not have a warrant, you can refuse entry.

Understanding your rights when the police knock on your door protects both you and your family.