The Bill of Rights, which contains the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, includes some of the most important protections for those facing criminal charges in this country. For example, the Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures of your property.
Police officers typically need to have either the consent of the property owner or a warrant from the courts to search someone’s home. If they don’t have a warrant and you haven’t given your permission, can the police still try to enter your house?
Police can enter without permission or a warrant if they have probable cause
Police officers can force their way into a home when they know or have probable cause to suspect that a crime is in progress. Many different situations can give officers probable cause.
For example, if they recently pursued someone from the scene of a crime and believe that that individual entered your property, they may be able to enter the property because of that pursuit. In the situation where they come knocking on your door, things they see through your window, hear through the door or even smell might give them reason to suspect criminal activity.
In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld police claims in the past that a toilet flushing was probable cause to suspect that suspects were destroying evidence.
Home searches often lead to charges for the possession of illegal items like drugs. Those facing drug charges could use an inappropriate search of their property as part of their defense strategy.