One important thing to remember is that you usually have to give the police permission to enter your home. Simply being a member of the police force does not grant them that right. You can still have a right to privacy within your house and they need to get your consent before coming inside. They cannot use their authority to force this consent.
That being said, there are some situations in which the police are allowed to enter a home without getting permission in advance. Let’s look at a few examples of how these may occur.
They are in hot pursuit
First of all, there are some emergency situations, such as when the police are in hot pursuit of a suspect who runs into a building. Another emergency might be if they think there’s a danger to the public or that evidence is being destroyed within that building. Police can use this emergency situation to get around the rule about needing consent, although they will be obligated to show that it was justified after the fact.
They have a search warrant
Naturally, another option for the police is simply to go to a judge and get a search warrant. This would allow them to enter the house, even if the homeowner still refused to give them consent. To get the warrant, the police show the judge that it’s justified in advance. The order of operations is simply the opposite of the example listed above.
What are your options?
If the police have entered your home and made an arrest or gathered evidence, you may have questions about the legality of that search. Be sure that you are well aware of all of your legal defense options at this time.