Nobody wants to see the police at their door because they are rarely arriving with good news. Police officers may make unannounced stops at people’s homes for various reasons, such as for a criminal investigation, a wellness check or in response to a 911 call.
It is natural to be anxious when the police come to your door, especially if this has never happened before. What you do and say in this situation is extremely important.
Are they really police officers?
Do not invite the police into your house. Ask them to show them identification to verify they are police officers.
Generally, the police must have a warrant to come into your house. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as in an emergency, or if they have reason to believe evidence is in your house that may be destroyed if they do not enter immediately.
Ask to see a warrant
Ask to see either an arrest warrant or a search warrant. An arrest warrant should list the full name of the person to be arrested, while a search warrant must list the address to be searched.
When you ask to see the warrant, request that the police hold it up so you can clearly read it or ask them to slide it under your door.
If the warrant is an arrest warrant with your name on it, you should comply with the arrest, but stay silent, or ask for an attorney. Follow the officer’s directions.
Do not resist the arrest. The time to fight the charge is after the arrest, through the legal process. Resisting can cause you to face additional criminal charges.
If the officers have a search warrant that appears valid, let them into your house. However, a search warrant should specify areas to be searched or items to be located.
The police cannot exceed the scope of the warrant. For example, if the warrant says to search your basement only, they cannot search any other room. Stay silent while they search. Write down where they go, any items they take and anything they say to you.
Write down the names, badge numbers and patrol car numbers of the officers. You have many legal rights. A criminal defense attorney can analyze your situation to determine if your rights were violated in any way and advise you on your options.