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Do you have to let the police inside?

It's 10 o'clock at night. You're sitting down to have a drink and watch some Netflix when there's a knock at the door. You open it a crack and find two police officers standing outside. They say they have some questions and want to come in and talk. They smile and say it will just take a minute.

Do you have to let them in?

Absolutely not. The only time you have to let the police in is when they have probable cause or a warrant. That's it. Otherwise, even if they turn angry, threaten you or demand to enter the home or apartment, you are fully within your rights to tell them it's not happening.

Sometimes, police suspect that they'll find drugs in the house. It's a hunch. They don't have proof. They don't have probable cause. They certainly don't have a warrant. So they'll just come knock and ask if they can come in, hoping to stumble across something.

This is when it's important to remember your rights. Officers can be very convincing, but you need to know where you stand. Some advise simply stepping outside -- and closing the door behind you -- to talk to them. This way, they can't claim that they saw something, like drug paraphernalia, to give them probable cause. Be polite and civil, but remember that you don't have to let them violate your rights just because of the uniform.

What if they go inside the house without your consent? If so, you absolutely need to know all of your legal options, as this is likely an illegal search that may get thrown out of court.

Source: Off Beat Home, "The 5 things to know before you let that cop into your house," accessed Nov. 08, 2017

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JR Standring, Attorney At Law
177 N. Church Avenue
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Tucson, AZ 85701

Phone: 520-829-4225
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