Your home is where you feel safe and where you store your private property. You have a reasonable expectation of privacy inside your own home whether you rent an apartment or own a house. You need to understand your rights while in your own home or risk someone violating them.
Your right to privacy has legal protection, but police officers often have an interest in gaining access to items and spaces that you would prefer remain private. When officers have compelling information to implicate you in criminal activities, a judge might sign a warrant that gives them permission to go through your home.
Can the police search your property if they don’t have a warrant?
There are clear rules about searches without warrants
In very specific situations, it may be legal for a police officer to search your home without a warrant. One of those situations involves probable cause. If a police officer hears, sees or even smells something that makes them believe there is a crime in progress in your home, they can come inside to search even without a warrant.
In fact, they don’t have to suspect you of breaking the law. Police officers can demand access to private property if they are in hot pursuit of a criminal from another location, although the severity of the crime may impact how aggressive they can be in their pursuit.
Otherwise, police officers can search your home when you give them permission. This is a trick that they frequently use to the detriment of those under investigation. Officers will simply ask if they can come inside to ask a few questions. Then they will look for anything that gives them probable cause and use that as an excuse to search even if you ask them to leave.
Learning your rights can help you assert them
If you don’t know what you can and cannot do during an encounter with law enforcement, you may fall victim to bluffing or other techniques intended to manipulate you and trick you into giving up your rights. If you understand that you don’t have to let officers into your home and that they may find an excuse not to leave once you do, you will be in a better position to answer appropriately when an officer knocks on your door and says that they just want to talk to you.
Knowing when police can come into your home can help those who face police scrutiny for allegations of criminal conduct.