As a resident of the United States, you have certain rights and responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution. For example, if police arrive at your door and want to talk to you or enter your residence, you have Fourth Amendment rights that law enforcement officers must follow. Although you may be fearful or feel intimidated by the presence of police at your home, you should not hesitate to invoke your rights and require that officers respect those rights.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees your right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Keep in mind that police do not only arrive at your door intending to accuse you of a crime and search your home. Police officers may be visiting you about a totally unrelated incident. Therefore, you should first figure out why law enforcement officers are at your door. If the police indicate that you are the target of your investigation, however, you need to be aware of and advocate for your legal rights.
The bottom line is that police officers have no right to enter your home except in three circumstances:
1) You give them consent to enter your home.
2) The officers have probable cause to believe that an illegal act is
occurring in your home. This might be the case if an officer hears someone calling for help from inside your home or sees someone in your home committing a crime in plain sight.
3) The officers have a warrant signed by a judge that permits them to enter the home. In this case, you must abide by the terms of the warrant and allow them to enter and search your home.
It is not unusual, though, for police to knock at your door and engage you in an informal conversation, hoping to gain your permission to enter. You should be wary in this situation, and generally not allow police to enter your home in the absence of probable cause or a warrant to enter and search your home.
The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.