U.S. citizens who are homeowners certainly do have a right to privacy. In many cases, the police are not allowed to enter someone’s home without a warrant. This also goes for cases where the person doesn’t own the home, such as if they are renting an apartment. The police cannot just enter someone’s accommodations and conduct a search with no reason. They have to get a warrant first.
But it’s dangerous to assume that this is always true. As a citizen, it’s also important that you understand that there are ways the police can legally enter your house without a warrant. Let’s take a look at two examples.
They claim it is an emergency
First of all, there are many cases where the police will claim that they were acting quickly because it was an emergency situation. They didn’t have time to get a warrant. An example of this could be if they think there’s a danger to someone in the home – such as if they hear gunshots inside of the house – or if they are pursuing a suspect who has entered the home.
If the police use this reasoning, though, they do have to show that the search was justified during the trial. The judge could theoretically determine that it wasn’t actually an emergency, making it an illegal search.
They get your consent
Next, the police will often seek the consent of the homeowner. They may try to disguise this in some way so that it seems like more of a mundane request. But if a police officer says something like “Can I just come in for a second and ask you a few questions?”, remember that you do not have to allow them inside.
If you’re facing arrest, the way the police conducted a search can have a major impact on the case. Make sure you know about your legal defense options.