It can be intimidating to have police officers at your door – certainly late at night and even more so if you have teenagers or young adult children living with you. Law enforcement officers don't need to read you your rights or advise you if you have any legal obligation to comply with their requests. It is best to understand your rights before you open the door to the police.
Don't Answer the Door
You always have the option to not answer the door if you didn't request police assistance. The officers would continue to knock if they have a search warrant or if they need to talk to you with reason.
Use a Screen Door or a Chain Lock While Speaking with the Police
You can always speak with the police using a fastened chain lock or through the screen door if you are uncomfortable or don't want the police inside your home. You can also close the door behind you when you step outside to speak with them. Always remember the police don't have any right to enter the house without your consent or warrant.
Do Not Answer Any Questions
The best practice is to avoid speaking with the police unnecessarily. You should clearly ask whether you are under arrest if the police come asking questions. Never answer any questions without an attorney present.
Police Ask for a House Search
In some cases, the law enforcement officials may request to search your house. You can always decline their request. Police cannot enter your home without express consent or a valid search warrant. You should note that consent from any person in the house, such as family members or roommates will be valid for a police search of common areas and that person s private space. If the officers claim they have a warrant, make sure you ask to see it.
Understanding Exigent Circumstances
In rare situations, the police can enter the house without a warrant if there are exigent circumstances. This is where immediate attention from the police is required or where destruction of evidence may occur while waiting for the warrant.
For instance, if a person being actively chased enters a house to take cover, the police may not have time to wait for a warrant. The same holds true if someone reports domestic violence or assault.
Police Visits Don't Always Spell Trouble
Police don't come knocking just when someone is in trouble. They may just be collecting information about a neighborhood crime or conducting a welfare check. Try being courteous and staying calm while speaking with them. If you appear to be nervous or unsure of what you are saying that would make the police suspicious of you and what you are saying. The doctrine of plain view gives the police the right to seize illegal items or contraband in plain sight.
Speak with an Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Attorney Today
You should get in touch with a criminal attorney almost immediately if the police have requested to search your home or have already searched it. The skilled attorneys at Kann California Law Group can help you in such situations. Police don't waste time in conducting random house searches. Give us a call today at (888) 744-7730 or use our online form. We will do everything possible to protect your rights.