You were sitting at home minding your own business when there was a knock at the door. To your surprise, it is the police. They claim that they would like to come in and talk to you about an incident that occurred a few days ago. They suggest that they would like to take a look around.
Do you have to let them in or can you refuse? Outlined below are some important points to consider:
You do not have to give permission
Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you are protected from unlawful searches and seizures. Without the proper documentation, officers are not legally allowed to enter without your permission.
That being said, if you allow them to come in they may be able to start gathering evidence that they believe to be incriminating. If you have been identified as a suspect then it is generally not in your best interests to allow a search. You are within your rights to speak to the officers through the door.
A valid search warrant
If officers have a valid search warrant then they may be entitled to enter without your permission. This warrant must be time-stamped and signed by a state judge or relevant court. Typically, the warrant should outline what they are looking for and what they are entitled to seize during the search.
Probable cause of criminal activity
In certain circumstances, the police may be entitled to enter without a search warrant or your permission. For example, if they have probable cause to believe that someone is being illegally held against their will on the property or any other criminal activity is ongoing.
A search can play a vital part in your case. If the search was unlawful, then the evidence arising from it could be thrown out. Seek legal guidance to build the best possible defense strategy.