When Texas police come knocking at your door, you might feel nervous, confused, or just caught off guard. As you quickly gather your thoughts, you may wonder if you need to let the police in, or if you even need to open the door. Do the police need a warrant to come into your home? What happens if you just don’t respond? Why are the police even at your door if you didn’t do anything wrong?
Police officers might appear at your door for a number of reasons. Sure, maybe they think that you committed a crime, but they also could be looking for someone else with the same name as yours or trying to track down a suspect who recently was in the neighborhood. Whatever the case may be, police are trained to respect your constitutional rights. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives you rights against any “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The question is, what do these protections mean for you when police are at your door and demanding to speak with you?
In very simple terms, you don’t have to let police into your home unless they have a search warrant. If they can show you a legally valid search warrant signed by a judge, you will have to let them into your home. However, even if they have no warrant, there are ways that police officers may try to legally enter your home. For instance, if you voluntarily consent to allow police in your home, their entry into your home is perfectly legal. This means that police may try to talk you into allowing them entry. Plus, even if you don’t give police permission to enter your home and they don’t have a warrant, there are times when they still can legally enter. All the police have to do is show “probable cause” to enter your home without a warrant. This means that if there is evidence that something illegal is going on in your home, such as a person screaming for help, or a person using illegal drugs in plain sight, the police then have probable cause to enter your home, warrant or no warrant.
An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against your criminal charges, regardless of the type of criminal offense involved. Taking steps to get you released from jail and fight for your rights at the beginning of your case is typically easier than waiting until your case may be too far gone to fix. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.