Do I have to let the police into my home?

If you do not understand the rules, others who understand them better can take advantage of you. It is true for everything from the sports field to legal matters.

One set of laws you might not be clear on relates to the police’s power to enter your home. Getting it wrong could make it more likely you face criminal charges. If you are not a U.S. citizen, any charges could jeopardize your right to stay in the country.

You do not have to open the door to the police

If the police want to enter your property, they need your permission. Or a signed warrant from a judge. It can either be an arrest warrant with your name on it. Or a search warrant with your address on it.

The only exceptions to this, when the police can enter without a warrant or your permission are:

  • If they believe there is a crime happening inside
  • If they believe someone is destroying criminal evidence inside
  • If they are chasing a criminal

If one of these three exceptions applies, they will enter whether you like it or not, possibly by barging the door down. Note down their details if you are unhappy about their attempts to enter.

You have the right to an attorney and the right not to talk to the police

Talking can get you into trouble, even if you have done nothing wrong. If the police arrest you, ensure you exercise your right to an attorney. Having someone who understands the rules is crucial. They can help you avoid errors that could harm your freedom and your right to remain in the country.