When an officer comes to your front door, your kneejerk reaction might involve opening the door for a perceived authority figure. In fact, an officer may intentionally make it seem as though you must open the door for them.
But do you actually have to? When an officer comes to your door, what are your options?
When can police enter your home?
Flex Your Rights discusses what you can and should do in the event that police come to your door. They may approach your door for a number of reasons, but at the end of the day, they cannot actually enter your property unless they meet one of three requirements. These requirements include:
- Having a warrant from the court to search your home
- Having a substantial reason to believe that entering your home will help solve or stop a crime in progress
- If you invite them in
In other words, as soon as you allow police into your home, you give them the legal right to enter the premises and use anything they find against you.
What can you do instead of letting them in?
Instead of letting the police in, you can instead meet them outside of your home or speak to them through the window by your door. You can also choose to talk through a crack in the door if you have a chain lock on it.
You can even decide to avoid answering the door entirely. Unless police have a valid reason to visit, such as the aforementioned court order, they will have to leave sooner or later, so you do not actually need to get up and alert them that you are home.