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When can the police enter your home without a warrant?

by | May 3, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Imagine being home by yourself minding your own business. Maybe you’re waiting for a friend to arrive or watching a horror movie.

Suddenly, the police barge into your home with their guns drawn. After the dust settles, you demand to know why they’re in your home without a warrant and find out that they felt you were in danger. Whether that’s because they assumed that the guest coming to your home was dangerous or because they thought they heard screaming inside, they still burst into your home without the right legal documents. Were they really within their rights, or did they violate yours?

There are times when the police may enter without a warrant

Legally, there are times when the police can come into your home without a warrant. For example, if they report to a 911 call for domestic violence and hear screaming inside the home, it would make sense for them to open the front door and come in. They should announce themselves accordingly.

There is a reasonable expectation of privacy, though. For instance, if they heard a rumor that there was a drug deal going on in your home, they’d need to get a warrant to enter your home and check. They can’t just open the front door and search your home because they believe that drugs might be present.

Your Fourth Amendment rights protect you against unwarranted home searches and invasion

You have Fourth Amendment rights that protect you against unreasonable searches and seizures. The rights don’t apply, though, if you don’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy. For example, in your front yard, you can’t expect that others won’t see what you’re doing. Inside your home, you’d expect to be safe and secure in your own private area, which should be respected whenever possible.

What should you do if the police enter your home without a warrant?

If the police enter your home without a warrant, it’s worth talking to your attorney about your rights and if they’ve been violated. Unless there was an emergency or real cause for concern, the police should not have entered without a warrant.