What happens when an officer knocks on your door?

Growing up, you may have learned that you should always respect officers and trust them to protect you in your times of need. But what do you do when officers are at your door uninvited, and you do not think they have shown up to offer you aid?

It is important to know your rights when confronted with law enforcement, and this includes understanding the actions available to you when one comes knocking at your door.

Leaving the door unanswered

Flex Your Rights discusses how you can respond to an officer at your door. Before all else, it is crucial to understand that you do not need to let them in. In fact, you do not even need to acknowledge their presence at all. You can pretend you are not home or simply refuse to answer the door, and if they have no search warrant, they will eventually have to leave.

Speaking to officers safely

But if you still wish to speak with them, you can do so outside of your home. Talk to them through a chain lock or a side window, or exit your home from another door and meet them outside. After all, an officer does not have the ability to enter your home unless they either:

  • Have a search warrant from a judge
  • Have reason to believe that entering your home will allow them to intervene in an emergency
  • Have permission from you as the homeowner to enter

Once you allow them in, they can seize and search for anything attainable. Thus, it is best to keep them from gaining entry in the first place. You can then contact legal help after they leave if you feel it is necessary, too.

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