The police come to your door. They say that they’d like to come in and have a look around. You stand there in the door, looking at the officers on the front step and wondering if you have to do what they say. They certainly look intimidating enough, and you’re pretty sure they’re doing it on purpose. They want you to go along with their request. Do you have to?
ASK TO SEE THE WARRANT
The first thing you should do is just ask them to see the warrant. They should have one for a home search, after all, or it means they were either too impatient to get it or — more likely — they don’t have nearly enough reason to actually search your home. No judge would give them a warrant, so they’re hoping you’ll just agree to let them in.
It’s fully within your rights to tell them to leave if they don’t have a warrant. Don’t worry about how intimidating they look or any lies they tell you about how things will go more smoothly if you let them in. Americans have a right to protection against illegal searches. You have a right to privacy in your own home. Without a warrant or your permission, in most cases, the police cannot enter the house.
WHAT IF THEY DO HAVE A WARRANT?
If they do have a warrant, you still want to read it. It could be more specific than they’re letting on. For instance, maybe they think you’re hiding paperwork connected to financial crimes in your home office, which is attached to your garage. The warrant may give them permission to search the office and the garage, but not the main home. You don’t have to let them go anywhere they want just because they have a warrant.
EXPLORING YOUR OPTIONS
If you’re facing charges or if the police have carried out an illegal search already, you do have legal options. An experienced firm can help you explore them.