When the police show up at your door, it’s important to know your rights. If officers ask you questions, your answers could be used against you in court. It's always important to keep calm and address officers in a respectful manner.

Do you have to answer the door for the police?

If law enforcement officers show up at your house without a warrant, you aren’t required to answer the door or talk to them. We suggest not opening the door at all for a warrantless cop. If you do, they might take it as an invitation to enter the home, leading to issues down the road about whether the cop had consent to enter.

What should you do if police show up at your door?

If you know your rights when police come knocking, you shouldn't have to feel violated and nervous. If you do choose to answer the door, it's wise to treat officers like you would treat any other guest to your home. Calmly and respectfully ask how you can help them.

Should you consent to a police search of your home?

Most law-abiding citizens will consent to a police search because they think they have nothing to hide. However, you should never consent to a police search of your home. The police cannot legally enter and search your home without a signed search warrant from a judge.

There is no gain to letting police search your home. If you say no and have nothing in your home, then you nor anyone in your home will be arrested. If you give consent for them to search, however, officers can search and seize any illegal items that are in plain view, which can lead to your arrest.

If police entered your home with a search warrant or if you consented to let them inside, you should immediately contact a lawyer before speaking to police again. For more information on search and seizure, see our article on what you should do when police want to search your property.

If you think your rights were violated by police, write everything down about the incident so you don't forget any details. This can include witness names and phone numbers, and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.