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What happens when police knock on your door?

Throughout your youth, you have likely learned that the police serve to protect you. But what happens when they turn their sights toward you instead, and you feel you must protect yourself from them?

Above all else, you should understand your rights and the ways in which you may legally exercise them. It is crucial to start at the basics, and this includes what to do if the police arrive at your door and request – or even demand – entry.

Reasons police may enter

Flex Your Rights discusses what you can do when the police come knocking. First and foremost, understand that you do not have to legally allow them onto your property or inside your home. Police only have the right to enter under three specific circumstances. This includes:

  • They have reason to believe they need to intercept an ongoing emergency
  • They have a warrant to enter and search your home
  • You invite them inside

How you can handle it

Many officers rely on the fact that most people will let them in even if they do not want to, thinking it is necessary. Instead of allowing them free reign, you can meet them outside or speak to them through the chain lock on your door if you have one. Remain respectful and deny entry if they do not have a warrant.

In fact, you do not even need to open the door or acknowledge them at all. If they have no warrant or reason to enter, they will have to leave eventually and this can give you the time you need to seek legal aid if you feel it is necessary. This serves as a wise option if their presence has caught you off guard in the first place.