If a Texas police officer knock’s someone’s door, the person on the other side has an immediate decision to make, which is whether or not to answer the door. Upon opening the door, the police officer who is standing there might request entrance to the home. What if the person who answered the door refuses to let the officer inside?
There are several key points to remember when considering whether to comply with a police officer’s request to enter and search a home. Many people believe that they have to let police enter their home, which is not always so. Others think they never have to allow a search without a warrant. This is also not always true.
When can police enter to search without a warrant?
In certain circumstances, such as if police determine that public safety is at risk or that a crime is occurring inside a home, they do not necessarily need a validly authorized search warrant to enter a residence and conduct a search. In a typical situation, however, a person may open a door when police are knocking, then step outside while closing the door behind. He or she does not have to invite police inside or consent to a search.
Not consenting does not mean that a search will not occur
Just because a person says that he or she does not consent to a search, it does not guarantee that the police officers will not force their way into a residence and conduct a search anyway. Again, in some situations, this might be lawful. At other times, however, it may violate a person’s rights against unlawful searches and seizures, protected under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If someone believes that this has occurred, it is wise to seek immediate legal guidance.