A knock on the door from law enforcement can leave you feeling vulnerable and apprehensive. The way you handle the interaction can have serious implications for your situation.
There are a few mistakes that you should avoid making if the police come to your home.
Do not let them in without a warrant
When police officers knock on your door without a warrant in hand, you are not required to let them in. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches, so do not feel pressured to invite them inside your home. Politely state that you do not consent to a search without a warrant. Shut the door securely if needed.
Do not step outside to talk
Stepping outside when officers appear allows them to visually inspect the immediate vicinity, which may enable a subsequent warrant application if any incriminating details are in plain view. Inform the officers through a locked door or window that you do not consent to a search and do not wish to answer questions. Refrain from exiting your home unless the police formally detain or arrest you.
Do not answer questions
Anything communicated to law enforcement has the potential to become self-incriminating evidence down the line. Be courteous but firm when you advise officers that you will not answer questions, and then invoke your right to remain silent to protect yourself.
Recent surveys indicate that only 45% of American adults have confidence in the police. Do not panic if officers turn up unannounced. Being aware of your rights can help you avoid compromising situations.