If you’re like many people, you’re not sure what you should do if police are knocking on your door. Do you answer it? Do you pretend you’re not home, or do you let them know you won’t be opening the door?
Here’s what to do if police are knocking on your door.
What Should You Do if Police Are Knocking On Your Door?
First things first: If you see the police on your porch and they knock on your door, you can call an attorney on the spot for case-specific legal advice. It wouldn’t hurt to keep your attorney on the phone with you the entire time police are on your property. (You can reach us at 847-920-4540.)
You have constitutional rights, but you need to know what they are to exercise them.
If you can’t call your attorney right now, here’s what you need to know:
- Do not invite the police into your house. Don’t accept if they ask if they can come in, either.
- If they show you a warrant signed by a judicial officer that lists your address as a place they can search, or that has your name on it because it’s an arrest warrant for you, then you have to let them in.
- Don’t open the door. Ask the police to slip the warrant under your door, or ask them to hold it up to your window to show it to you.
- Don’t say anything. Even if the police have a warrant, you still have the right to remain silent – just let them know you want to exercise that right and that you’d like to talk to your attorney.
What if Police Are Knocking On Your Door Because They Have a Warrant?
If the police have a warrant, you have to let them in – but you have every right to read it before you do so. The warrant must:
- Be signed by a judicial officer and
- Have your address listed as a place to be searched or
- Have your name on it because you’re the subject of an arrest warrant
Related: Should you hire a lawyer if you’re not guilty?
A search warrant allows the police to enter the address listed on it. If you live at 123 Michigan Avenue, Apartment B, and the warrant says your address, you have to let the police in.
However, they can only search the areas listed on the warrant, and they can only search for the items listed on the warrant.
But don’t get too excited, because the fact that they can only search for items listed on the warrant doesn’t get you out of trouble if they find something else in the process. If police are searching for a gun but they see 50 grams of cocaine on your kitchen table, in a closet they’re searching or under your sofa cushions, they can (and will) take it and arrest you. Then you really need to call a lawyer.
Related: 3 things you MUST do if police arrest you
What if Police Are Knocking on the Door and You’re a Guest?
If you’re a guest in somebody’s house and the police come knocking on the door, be very clear. Tell them you’re visiting and that you don’t have the authority to let them inside without getting the owner’s permission first.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer Because Police Are Knocking On Your Door?
If the police are at your house right now, you can call us – or you can call us before or after they show up. We’re available at 847-920-4540, or you can fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you.