If police officers get a search warrant, they may be allowed to enter your home. Generally, they have to take some sort of evidence or reasonable suspicion to a judge, who then signs the warrant. Police cannot just randomly get warrants and search people’s homes. They need to show that there’s a valid reason to do so, and the warrant then gives them that ability, regardless of what the homeowner says.
But there are also ways in which the police can enter your home if they don’t have a warrant. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
You give them consent
Of course, the first way that this may happen is if you give consent to the police to enter the house. This is why officers may knock on your door and ask to come inside to talk. They could talk to you outside, but they need your permission to come in, so that’s what they’re looking for.
Items in plain view
Another issue is when the police see potential evidence that is in plain view. This may even be why they asked to come inside. They weren’t planning to conduct a search, but if they see what appears to be illegal drugs or firearms on the kitchen table, they can then begin looking around.
In an emergency
Additionally, police sometimes enter homes if there is an emergency. Perhaps they think there’s a danger to the public, like an active shooter in the home. They may also be chasing a suspect who has gone into the home, and they don’t think they have time to get a warrant before that person escapes or destroys evidence.
The way that the police enter a person’s home is very important if an arrest is made because it can help to determine what evidence can be used in the case. Those in this situation need to know about all of their criminal defense options.