Knock, Knock, It’s the Police: Know Your Rights

by | Mar 19, 2021 | Criminal

By Kerry Rosenquist |

Know Your Rights if the Police Come Knocking

When the police arrive at your door, it is helpful to know and understand your rights. Police officers are able to and will use the information you provide to them against you in court. When speaking with law enforcement, it is beneficial to stay calm and address the officers respectfully.

Do you have to answer the door?

          The short answer is no, unless they have a warrant. If law enforcement arrives at your house without a warrant, you are protected under the law from having to answer the door or engage with them. You can tell them that you do not want to speak with them, and that if they want to come in they will need to obtain a warrant. During these discussions staying calm and being polite can help to deescalate the situation.

What should you do if the Police arrive at your residence?

          Even if you have done nothing wrong, police presence can cause anxiety and nervousness. If you are aware of your rights, there is no need to feel nervous. You have the option to answer your door, and if you do so, it is important to treat the officers respectfully. You are also able to communicate through the door if that makes you more comfortable. This does not need to be a full conversation. If you are denying them entry, keep it short and polite. If they do have a warrant signed by a judge, you are obligated to let them in. Keep in mind that anything you say may be used against you later in the court of law if they gain access and subsequently arrest you. Stand to the side and stay silent if the police end up doing a search of the premises.

Should you consent to a search of your home?

          Often times law-abiding individuals believe that they have done nothing wrong and that consenting to a search will prove that point. However, you do not have to consent to a police search of your home . Without consent, officers cannot legally enter your residence without a signed warrant from a judge. You do not gain anything by allowing the officers to search your home. Contrary to popular belief, saying no does not make you guilty. It simply shows that you know and are exercising your rights. If you allow entry and the officers find anything that may be illegal, you will be arrested, even if it was not what they were originally looking for (ex. If law enforcement came looking for illegal substances and saw a sawed-off shotgun laying on your coffee table and you are a convicted felon, you will be arrested for a felon in possession of a firearm).

          Whether police officers enter your residence without your consent, by having a search warrant, or with your consent, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney before speaking to law enforcement again. If you believe your rights were violated, make sure to record every detail from the incident and get in contact with an attorney immediately.

Contact Rosenquist Law Office by phone: 701.775.0654 or by email: to set up a free consultation.

*The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only. This information is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as so.

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