If you are like many other Texans, you may not think twice about letting police officers into your home when they come knocking without you having called them for an emergency first. However, as you wonder why they are even at your door, you may want to take a moment to consider whether you should let them in at all.
Asking a couple of polite questions may help ascertain why they are there. In some cases, officers may be asking questions regarding a possible crime they believe someone committed in your area. If they think that you are the one who may have committed a crime, you have rights.
Should you invite them into your home?
If police suspect you of criminal activity, you may want to reconsider letting police into your home. You may think it will help to provide consent to their entry, but if there is anything sitting out that could substantiate their beliefs regarding criminal activity, you could find yourself in trouble.
Instead, you could politely tell them to come back with a search warrant. Before you do that, make sure that you don't give them a foothold into your home. Talk to them through the chain on your door or the peephole. In fact, if you didn't call them, you aren't obligated to answer the door unless they have a warrant. They may attempt to convince or intimidate you into opening the door, but they know as well as you do now that they can't enter your home without a warrant.
You can do this because the United States Supreme Court ruled that you deserve the best protections under the Fourth Amendment, which protects you from illegal searches and seizures, while you are in your home. This means that unless you consent, officers need a search warrant to enter your home. However, very limited circumstances do exist in which they may enter without a warrant.
You may want to make a call while you wait
If you send officers away to obtain a search warrant, they may come back. During your wait, it might be a good idea to determine your rights and legal options. Others who have found themselves in your position have made use of local legal resources to advise and assist them.