If the police knock on your door, it is essential to understand your rights. While they might be calling for an innocent reason, there is a good chance they are not.
Police typically knock on doors when they want something from you. Be that information or evidence. Even if you have no idea what they want and have not done anything wrong, it pays to be cautious.
The police do not have an automatic right to enter your home
The police might be in charge of enforcing law and order, but that does not give them the right to do as they please. They can only enter if you allow them or if specific circumstances apply:
- They have a search warrant
- They have an arrest warrant
- They fear someone is destroying evidence inside
- They believe someone is in danger inside
- They are pursuing a criminal
If they do have a warrant, ask them to hold it up to the window or push it under the door so that you can read it. Check the details are correct, such as your correct name and address, and make sure you understand what it gives them the right to search.
Do I even need to answer the door?
If you prefer, you can stay away from the door, but if the police have a warrant, they can break the door down if you do not open it.
Do I need to talk to the police?
Whether you open or not, you do not need to talk to the police. Remember, the police are trained to get information out of people, so it pays to get legal help to understand your rights before speaking to them. Silence isn’t just your legal right — it’s also your best defense.