The police might come knocking on your door for any number of reasons, including as part of a criminal investigation. Depending on the circumstances, you may or may not have to answer the door for law enforcement.
When the police come to your door, you should ask them if they have a warrant. Before executing an arrest or conducting a search, the police typically need a warrant issued by a judge. The warrant grants special authority to the police and cannot be refused. If the police have a warrant, you must answer the door. If they do not have a warrant but still wish to speak with you, you can refuse to answer the door. If the police have a warrant and you refuse to answer the door, there might be consequences, including possible criminal charges. Alternatively, if the police enter your home without a warrant, there might be consequences for them.
Dealing with law enforcement can be nerve-racking, but our Atlantic County, NJ criminal defense lawyers are prepared to help you fight any criminal charges. For a free case review, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.
Answering the Door for the Police in Atlantic County, NJ
People often feel very anxious or nervous around law enforcement, even if they have done nothing wrong. The police have a lot of authority and can make your life difficult based on flimsy evidence or information. As such, it might be tempting to keep your door closed if the police come knocking. While you are not necessarily required to talk to the police, you cannot refuse to answer your door to them if they have a warrant. Contact our Atlantic County, NJ criminal defense lawyers if the police come to your door.
The Police Do Not Have a Warrant
To put it shortly, if the police do not have a warrant when they come to your home, you do not have to answer the door. Contrary to what many people believe, you do not have to engage with the police if you are not in custody. Even if an officer approached you on the street to ask you some questions, you can refuse and keep walking. If in doubt, you can always ask the officer if you are being detained or arrested – if they have not detained or arrested you, they have no legal authority to hold you.
The police cannot enter your home or make you answer the door if they do not have a warrant authorizing them to conduct a search or execute an arrest. Refusing to speak to the police does not necessarily indicate that you have something to hide or have done something wrong. You should contact our Atlantic City, NJ criminal defense attorneys for guidance before talking to the police about anything.
The Police Have a Warrant
The situation changes when the police have a warrant. Generally, the police must get a warrant from a judge before entering your home to perform a search or execute an arrest. Ordinarily, the police cannot enter a person’s home without permission or the existence of an emergency. The warrant acts as a sort of temporary expansion of their authority and lets them enter your home whether you want them to or not.
As you can guess, you cannot refuse to answer your door when the police have a warrant. In many cases, the police cannot just barge in and start yelling orders. Instead, they typically have to knock and announce their presence. If you are still unsure, you can ask them about a warrant; if they have one, you must answer the door.
Consequences of Refusing to Answer the Door for the Police in Atlantic County, NJ
It might be difficult or even downright scary, but you must answer the door for the police if they have a warrant. Refusing to do so or taking steps to prevent the police from entering might land you in even bigger trouble. You should immediately call our Ventnor, NJ criminal defense attorneys for help after the police pay you a visit.
While the police are often required to follow the knock and announce rule when they come to your door with a warrant, they are free to enter by force if you refuse to answer the door. This might involve breaking the door down or finding another means of entering the home. This tends to aggravate law enforcement, and they might make your arrest that much more unpleasant. Your refusal to cooperate might also play against you later if you want to make a plea deal with prosecutors.
In some cases, people are criminally charged for refusing to answer the door for the police. This is more common in cases where someone refused to answer the door and took steps to prevent the police from entering, like erecting a barricade. Criminal charges for obstructing justice, interfering with an investigation, or even evading arrest are not unheard of.
What if the Police Enter My Home Without a Warrant in Atlantic County, NJ?
While the police have broad powers when it comes to making arrests and conducting investigations, these powers are not without limits. The police cannot enter your home without a warrant, and there are serious consequences if they do. If you believe the police unlawfully entered your home, call our Sea Isle City criminal defense attorneys for help immediately.
A warrantless arrest or search of your home can be used as grounds to suppress evidence in your case. For example, suppose the police come to your door without a warrant and force you to let them in so they can seize evidence. In such an instance, our Atlantic County, NJ criminal defense lawyers can file motions to suppress that evidence because it was seized in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.
Call Our Atlantic County, NJ Criminal Defense Attorney for a Free Review of Your Case
Most people dislike dealing with law enforcement. Knowing how to protect yourself without angering the police can be hard, but our Northfield, NJ criminal defense attorneys can help you. For a free case review, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.