If a police officer shows up at your door and demand you open it, you may feel as if you have no option but to allow the officer into your home. Many people are intimidated by the authority of the police or frightened at the idea of disagreeing with the police. Whatever the reason, most people are either unaware of their constitutional rights when a police officer is at the door or they forget to assert them. While there are some exceptions to the rule, in general, it is illegal for the police to enter your home without a search warrant.
What are Your Rights?
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects you from unlawful searches and seizures. This right is extended to you on the state level by operation through the Fourteenth Amendment. This means that if the police do not have a search warrant and you do not consent to allow them into your home when asked, then they are breaking the law if they enter.
When Can the Police Enter Your Home Without a Warrant?
As mentioned, there are instances in which the police can enter your house without a warrant. If you consent and allow them in, then no violation of your rights has occurred. If the police are in “hot pursuit” of a suspect who happens to be located in your home, then they are allowed to enter, as well.
Unless you consent or the police are in pursuit of a suspect who is in your home, you are under no obligation to allow the police to enter your home if they show up at your door. That is not considered resisting arrest, nor is it considered interfering in a police investigation. Regardless of what the police say to you in an attempt to persuade you to let them search your home, you are merely exercising your constitutional rights to refuse, and that is perfectly allowable.
What is a Warrant?
For the police to legally enter your home, they must first obtain a warrant from the court. There are two types of warrants; arrest warrants and search warrants.
Arrest warrants allow the police to arrest you if you are named in the warrant. If you are arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant, the police are allowed to search you as well as your immediate surrounding areas. A search warrant allows the police to search whatever area is identified in the warrant. This can be a locker, a part of a home, an entire home, or additional spaces.
How is a Search Warrant Obtained?
To obtain either an arrest warrant or a search warrant the police must be able to demonstrate to a judge that there is reason to believe a crime has occurred and that evidence linked to the crime will be found on your property. An application for a warrant must be approved and signed by a magistrate or by a judge.
Chicago Unlawful Search and Seizure Attorney
If you have been arrested following an unlawful search and seizure by the Chicago police, contact unlawful search and seizure attorney David L. Freidberg. Any possible evidence collected by the police during an unlawful search is not admissible against you, and if the evidence is barred from the proceedings by the judge, your case might be dismissed. With close to 20 years’ experience handling unlawful search and seizure cases, David L. Freidberg will fight aggressively to have all evidence obtained during the unlawful search and seizure dismissed and the charges against you dropped. Serving clients throughout Chicago and the northwest suburbs from our Chicago, Skokie and DuPage County offices, we are available to take your call 24/7. Contact us today at 312-560-7100 to schedule a free consultation.