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What you should say if police ask to search your house

Knowing your rights when the police are attempting to infringe them is critical to defending them. When a police officer does not follow procedure, they are counting on you to not know your rights. The police can do many things in the name of public safety, but entering your home without a reason is not one of them.

The fourth amendment is what gives you the right to deny the police from entering your home without probable cause. While you may have the law on your side, you need to be able to relay this information to the police calmly and directly.

How to recognize your rights

Before you mistakenly tell the police that they do not have a right to enter your home without a warrant, make sure that is correct. There are several circumstances in which law enforcement does not need the warrant to enter your house, such as:

  • Plain view doctrine: if the police can see illegal activity or paraphernalia in plain sight within your home, that legally entitles the police to enter your home without a warrant.
  • Search incident to arrest: if police arrested someone for a crime, the police do not need the warrant to search the arrested person’s home.
  • Exigent circumstances: if the time it would take police to earn a warrant would jeopardize the safety of the public or evidence, the police may be able to proceed with searching a home without a warrant.
  • Consent: the police can search your home with your permission.

Once you can recognize your rights, you can then defend them.

How to deny a search

If the police should come to your door and ask to search it without a warrant, you have the right to grant them access or not. Before making your choice, gather some information. As the officers for identification, and why they want to search your home or vehicle. If you do not want them to enter, politely say as much. If the police have a warrant to enter, you can also ask them to read it aloud before they come in.

Knowledge is a powerful tool

Knowing what your rights are is the first step in defending them. If you believe someone is about to infringe your rights, record everything, and fight it with an attorney at your side. Struggling during an illegal search can cause more problems than solutions, so be safe and act wisely to defend yourself.


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