No one wants to end up on the “wrong side” of the law, but unfortunately, this can happen to anyone, even if you believe yourself to have done no wrong. In these cases, it is important to understand your rights and know how to safely exercise them.
This also applies to the scenarios in which police approach you first, or approach you at your own home. Do you know what to do if they ask to enter your property?
When can police enter?
Flex Your Rights looks into your options when police arrive at your door. First, know that police can only enter the premises under three conditions. First, they must have reason to believe that entering the premises will allow them to handle an ongoing emergency or crisis situation. Second, they have a court-given search warrant allowing them to legally enter and search your home. Or third and most common: someone on the property gives them permission to enter.
What if they have no reason to enter?
If police do not have a warrant or reason to believe their actions will stop an emergency, then you do not need to give them permission to enter. You should remain calm and polite when speaking to law enforcement, but firm on the fact that you will not allow them in without a search warrant.
Know that officers may use other tactics to get you to let them inside, such as claiming to be running new safety programs. Firmly and politely insist that you cannot let them in while speaking to them through a side window, a chain lock, or even by leaving through another door and speaking with them outside. This allows you to discuss matters with them calmly without giving up your rights to protect your space.