Your Rights in your home

IN YOUR HOME DEFINED

When we say “in your home” we mean your house, outbuildings and adjoining land owned and occupied by a person or family as a residence. Your home or your cartilage also includes unattached garages, storage sheds and any other such structures that are relatively close to the home and serve the daily needs of the homeowner in some way.

THE GENERAL LAW

  • You do have the right to an expectation of privacy in your own home

  • You do not have to answer your door.

  • You do not have to let them come in.

  • You do not have to let them see inside your home.

  • You do not have to identify yourself.

  • You do not have to open your door.

  • You do not have to talk to them oranswer any questions.

  • You do not have to go down to the police station.

INTERACTION WITH POLICE IN YOUR HOME

Stop and Questioning A police officer has the right to “knock and announce” at your door. He or she may just be trying to disseminate information in the community or looking for evidence that you or someone in your home did or is doing something wrong. You are not required to open your door if the police, FBI or any other government agents knock on your door. You are not required to identify yourself oranswer any questions You are free to speak through the door or say that you have nothing to say. You are free to not even answer the door at all, which is your best option.The Police cannot enter your home without your consent or just an arrest warrant. If you believe it is truly law enforcement and they give you a search warrant, simply allow them to search. Allow your attorney to follow up regarding the validity of the warrant and the To enter your home, Police must have one of the following: your consent, warrant, or what Police may deem an emergency. In the event that some type of warrant does exist, you have the right to see and read it to verify the police have the correct name(s) and address. At this time the Police can enter and keep you there. The Officer may ask further questions. You are never required toanswer any questions You are only required to provide information which confirms your identity such as name, address, date of birth and social security number. Pat Down/SearchOnce it is established that Police have the right to be in your home and you are in fact being detained, a police officer may conduct a pat down search to ensure that you are not carrying any weapons. If the officer is executing a warrant for your arrest he may search the immediate area where you are being arrested. This does not have to be part of the search warrant if the warrant is to search some other designated area of your home. If an area or person is not listed on the warrant, police have no right to search. In order to arrest you in your home, the police officer must have an arrest warrant, established probable cause or related reason. Do not argue with the officer and do not Resist Arrest. Once you are under arrest, you are not free to leave and you will be taken into police custody. Remember that you do not have to answer any questions and anything you say WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU. You must let police know that you will not answer any questions without a lawyer. When arrested, police will use many tactics to get you to talk. They will tell you that if you talk to them, they will help you. This is never true!! The law allows police to use tactics which trick you into giving information.

WHAT THEY CAN LEGALY ASK YOU TO DO

STOP “you in your home”You must be aware that law enforcement can enter your home even if they are uninvited under certain circumstance:If the police are in a fresh pursuit of a suspect and the suspect ends up in your If the police believe a crime is being committed inside and someone is injured or If the police believe that someone inside is incapacitated and is in need of help or medical assistanceIf the police believe an intruder is in the home and need to evacuate anyone insideQUESTION you “in your home”You are the king of your castle. So you must guard it. The best way is to keep your mouth closed. That is the best insurance against incriminating yourself without even knowing that you are or being out witted by the police is to remain silent. You must insist that you have nothing to say if you choose to answer your door.DETAIN you “in your home”It is rare that an officer will knock on your door if he/she is not fact finding. At some point law enforcement has concluded that someone in your home is involved in something illegal or something illegal is going on in your home. They will try and make you believe that your well being and the sanctity of your home are the goals of their visit. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM. The longer you talk to them and answer questions the longer they will stay and try to find a reason from your own words to legally gain entry.PAT DOWN/SEARCH YOU “in your home”If you decide to open the door and talk to the police, they may try and look around through the door. If they see anything unlawful they can seize it.Police can perform a pat down search for their own safety if ...If the officer is executing an arrest warrant, he can .... Police can ask to search your home. Do not consent to this.Police can search you in your home and search your home....if you have been arrested. ARREST you “in your home”If you are placed under arrest, do not be alarmed if the officer hand cuffs you when you are taken into police custody. It is proper procedure. Sometimes it could be for your own safety or for the safety of the officer. DO NOT RESIST. DO NOT ASK OR

ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS

Police can arrest you if they have an arrest warrant, if probable cause develops during the time they engage you in conversation, if their search has yielded evidence of a crime or of criminal activity....If arrested, you must go with the officer. If you argue or in any way resist you may be charged with the crime of Resisting Arrest.

HOW YOU SHOULD HANDLE THIS SCENARIO

Avoid the whole encounter by not even acknowledging you are inside. Avoid the whole encounter by not even answering the door. If you choose to acknowledge you are inside or if you choose to answer the door, just say that you have nothing to say.Remember to cooperate at all times. Do not have any expectations of the police. They may not be courteous and they may not assist you. Their goal is different than your expectation during this process.Being detained in your home can only happen under certain circumstances. Either you have acknowledged you are home and have engaged in conversation with the officer whether through a closed or open door or you have allowed them to enter your home. At this point the only determining factor as to how long you will be detained is your level of cooperation. How much you are willing to say and allow will be the difference between the officer leaving and/or finding some criminal evidence to use against you in your Once the police have determined either through plain view, consent you have given, warrant, or reasonable suspicion that you are armed or there are potentially illegal items or activities going on in your home, they can pat you down and search you and the immediate area surrounding you. The officer will pat you down and search if he/she asks you if you have any weapons on you or if there are any weapons or drugs in your home The key here is to not fight the officer or resist arrest. By doing so, you will make it harder on yourself.