Though you learn to trust law enforcement when growing up, as an adult it is easier to understand that the world is not so black and white. While law enforcement agents often help people, you should still understand where to draw the line when protecting your own rights.
This includes understanding what to do and how to act when a law enforcement officer shows up at your door without a warrant.
When can officers enter your home?
Flex Your Rights discusses how to handle a situation in which police show up at your door. Before all else, keep in mind that officers can only enter your property under one of three specific scenarios. First, they have a court-issued warrant. Second, they have reason to believe that entering the premises will allow them to halt an emergency situation.
Third – the most common option – involves getting permission to enter the premises from someone already there. This does not even need to be the owner of the property, which is why it is important for everyone in a household to know not to let law enforcement in without a warrant.
Tactics to watch for
Police often rely on the fact that the average person does not know they can turn away an officer at the door and may try certain tactics to pressure you into letting them through anyway. In such scenarios, it is important to remain calm and polite but firm in your repeated denial of their entry. Tell them that you cannot let them in without a warrant and speak to them through a window or chain lock if you feel unsafe.
This will also give you the time to contact legal help if you feel it is necessary, as the officers will need to leave sooner or later if they have no warrant and you do not allow them entry.