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What Your Rights are When the Police Knock on Your Door

Richard S. Lundin
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Personal injury and family law attorney licensed to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia

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10/15/2018
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The Fourth Amendment guarantees you the right to be secure in your house.  You have more rights to privacy and against police intrusion in your home than anywhere else.

 

This means that the police cannot forcibly enter your home unless they have a search warrant or an arrest warrant or there are “exigent circumstances,” such as someone yelling for help inside or a report of domestic violence.

 

Without a warrant or “exigent circumstances” (i.e., urgent circumstances) you are not required to open your door to the police.  If, for any reason, you do not feel comfortable talking to the police, you are free to ignore their presence or tell them through the door that you’re not going to talk to them and ask that they leave.  (If they say they have a warrant, ask them to slide a copy under the door.)

 

If you feel you must speak to them face to face, you should step outside and close the door behind you, to make it clear that you do not consent to their entry into your home.  Never consent to the police entering your home, even if you think you have nothing to hide.

 

Finally, never lie to the police.  Lying to the police may result in criminal charges.  If they ask questions you don’t want to answer, simply say, “I wish to exercise my right not to answer your questions without a lawyer present.”  The police are trained to intimidate to get information and they’re even permitted to lie.  Don’t let them bully you!  Regardless of what they say, without a warrant or urgent circumstances, you are not required to let them inside your home, and you always have the right to remain silent and not answer their questions.

 

Dedicated to protecting and advancing your rights,

 



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