What are my options when police start knocking?
As we all know, anyone can find themselves under suspicion from the police. And, while we have probably thought about what we will do if we are pulled over, it is likely we have not thought about what we would do if the police came knocking at your door.
Be prepared for the shock
If the police show up at your door, it will be a shock. That is just a fact of life. Do not panic. Do not overreact. Remember, your goal now is to mitigate the situation.
If they have not already kicked in the door, that is a good sign
If they are knocking and not breaking down your door, that is a good sign. It may mean that they do not have a warrant, but it also may mean that they are willing to act reasonably.
Ask if they have a warrant
Ask if they have a warrant first. If they do not, you do not have to let them in or search your property. Unless there is some kind of exigent circumstances, they cannot enter your property. It is OK to tell them you do not consent, ask them to leave your property and say that any further contact should be made through your lawyer. If there is no warrant, that should be the end of it. They may want your lawyer’s contact information.
If they have a warrant
Open the door, but ask to see the warrant. Let them know you do not consent to the search, and make sure that you repeatedly state you do not consent to the search. If they ask, keep saying, “no.” And, whatever you do, do not impede their entry or interfere in their search. If the warrant is valid, if you impede their search or interfere, that can escalate your charges.
You have the right to remain silent
Even though they have a warrant to search you home, you still have the right to remain silent. Use it. Remember, they are there to find a way to charge you with a crime, and anything you tell them could be twisted to make it their case against you.
Keep a record
This is your property, and you can record video on your property. You should record the search, and get as much information as you can from the police, including business cards and badge numbers. This may help in subsequent litigation.