Tennessee residents who have had police knock on their door understand how intimidating it can be. Even if you have done nothing wrong, it’s easy to feel anxious at the sight of a police officer on your doorstep. If you are in some trouble, this situation can be even more frightening.
Mentally prepare by learning your rights
Learning your rights ahead of time can help you prepare mentally just in case police ever knock on your door. Under criminal law, your home is protected from unlawful searches, and police need more than just probable cause to enter. Unlike a vehicle search, police are generally required to obtain a search warrant signed by a judge before they can enter someone’s home.
There is an exception to the search warrant rule, though. If you make the mistake of voluntarily letting a police officer into your home, then they have the right to both enter your home and seize any evidence that is in plain view. You should never let police into your home, even if they ask, unless they have a search warrant.
Make sure the search warrant is valid
Don’t let a police officer inside your home as soon as they flash a search warrant. You have the right to ask to look at the search warrant first. In many cases, police have the wrong house or the wrong tenant. Make sure the document says your correct name and your correct address before allowing police inside.
Less is more
Police can use anything you say and anything they see against you. That’s why, if you’re speaking to police from your door, you may want to step outside so that they can’t look into the house. Also remember that you have the right to remain silent.