You decide to throw a surprise birthday party for your best friend. The stereo is blaring music and the night is alive. It seems like everyone around you is having a great time. Balloons are bouncing in the air, bubble party is happening, people are singing, dancing, moving and grooving. Just when it hit ya... someone turned around to hear a pounding knock on the door.
Immediately, the stereo switches off, and everyone stares at each other blankly almost as if time was frozen. People begin frantically scurrying around the house like rats looking for a place to hide. You go up to the door and hear an officer announcing their presence. Thoughts begin flooding through your mind: “Oh shit, am I going to go to jail for this? There were people underage drinking! Am I going to get a minor in possession? What is going to happen?” Your throat is dry, and your eyes are wide staring into the distance.
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK. Then the sudden banging on the door brings you out of your head and back into reality. This is an example of where knowing your rights becomes crucial. How do you deal with this situation in the most effective way? Well, the police are only allowed to enter your home under a few different circumstances. The first being they have a search or arrest warrant. Second, they have a reason to believe there is an emergency inside, or three, you invite them in. You have the right to say “no, you are not allowed into my house”, and can speak to them outside with the door shut behind you. It is important to note that you also have the right to not answer any questions. However, some officers have gotten around needing a warrant through the “knock and talk” technique. The “knock and talk” technique involves law enforcement knocking on the door and trying to engage the individual who answers the door into hopefully finding evidence of criminal activity. Once the door is opened, officers can look around to see if there is any type of criminal activity going on. Many times, this technique works and the officer can gain entry.
If you ever find yourself in a situation like this it is important to ALWAYS know your rights! And, call your attorney at Zickerman Law Office.