You’re at home, maybe with a few friends, when you hear a knock at the door. Glancing through the peephole, you spot a police officer waiting on the other side. You begin to panic, and you’re not sure what happens when the police come to your door. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe and protect your rights.
It may sound strange or even uncomfortable, but you have no obligation to open the door unless police have a warrant. Until they present a warrant, treat them the same as you would door to door salespeople or religious solicitors.
If police stick around or if you feel like answering the door, you might open the door and address them. Be polite and ask if you can help them. In some cases, the police may be searching for evidence to a local crime or perhaps responding to a neighbor’s complaint. In general, it’s better to respectfully respond to complaints than risk escalating the situation.
Request a Warrant
If the police ask to enter your home, respectfully ask for a warrant. You have no obligation to allow them inside if they don’t identify themselves and present a signed warrant.
If they present a warrant, it is wise to comply. Refusing police with a warrant may result in forced entry as well as an obstruction of justice charge. If the warrant is legitimate, the best thing you can do is allow them inside and remain silent.
Contact Your Attorney
If police enter the building, you should consult your criminal defense attorney immediately. Even if you have nothing to hide, it’s essential to protect your rights and ensure that evidence collected is not misconstrued and used against you.
If you’re facing criminal charges, you should consider legal representation. If you’d like an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney from Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (414) 882-8382.