The proverbial “cop knock” is distinctive because it’s loud and sharp — and designed to get your attention. When you hear that noise and look out your door to find the police standing there, what do you do?
First, you take a deep breath and calm your nerves. The odds are very high that they wouldn’t be patiently waiting outside if they had a warrant in hand that permitted them to enter over your objections. This means you have choices.
Consider your options carefully — because your future could depend upon it
If the police aren’t waving a warrant around, they probably don’t have enough evidence that you’re doing or have done anything wrong to get one — so they cannot simply walk inside. You don’t want to let them in, either, because you never know what they may spot in plain sight that could be used against you in a criminal case.
That leaves you with the following options:
- Ignore them.You have no legal obligation to answer the door when someone knocks, including the police. Unless they really do have enough for a search warrant, they’ll eventually leave.
- Talk through the door.If you choose this option, tell the police that you’ll be happy to answer their questions once your attorney is present. Ask whichever person is in charge to leave their business card on your door. Not opening your door makes it impossible for the police to say that they saw any evidence of a crime through your open door.
- Meet them outside.If you choose this option, go out a different door and walk around to where they are standing to have your conversation. Again, you should make it clear that you’re only there to collect a business card and you decline to answer any questions without the benefit of counsel.
Don’t let the police intimidate you into making a mistake. Protect your legal rights at all costs.