What Should I Do If the Police Come to My Home? Has a Bad Situation Upended Your Life? Don't Face it Alone. 

What Should I Do If the Police Come to My Home?

Having police officers at your door can be intimidating. Police will not read you any rights or advise you of whether you are legally obligated to comply with their requests, so it is best to know your rights before you are faced with police at your door.

Don’t Answer

If you did not request assistance from the police, you have the option of not answering the door. If the officers have a search warrant or if there is a reason they need to talk with you (e.g., your dog broke out of the yard and injured someone or your neighbors made a noise complaint against you), they will continue to knock and most likely announce why they are there.

Speak With Police Through A Chain Lock or Screen Door

If you don’t mind speaking with the police or you are uncomfortable leaving them unanswered, you can speak to them with a chain lock still fastened or through the screen door.

You can also step outside of your home and close the door behind you so the officers can’t see inside. Remember they do not have the right to enter your home without a warrant or consent, so if they ask you to allow them inside or to open the door, you should ask to see a warrant.

Don’t Answer Questions

As advised in our previous post, the best practice to avoid unnecessary dealings with the police is simply not to talk to them. If the police come to your door and begin asking questions, you should ask them if you are under arrest and advise that you would not like to answer any questions without your lawyer present.

If The Police Ask To Search Your Home

Sometimes, the police will come to your home and request to search it. There can be many reasons for the request. A neighbor could have reported something about you or your property, they could have received an anonymous tip, or they could have witnessed something they believed was a violation of the law.

No matter what the reason is, the police may only search your home with your consent or with a valid search warrant. If the police ask if they can search your home, you should decline by saying, “I’m sorry, but I can’t allow you to search my home without a warrant.”

Note that consent from any person will provide the police permission to search, so be sure to advise roommates and family members if you do not consent to police searches.

If the police state they have a warrant, ask to see it. Even though police know they can get in serious trouble for claiming to have a warrant when they don’t, there have been cases of police misconduct when the police did exactly that.

If the police have a search warrant and you do not answer the door, they should announce they are there to conduct a search. If you still don’t answer, they may use force to enter your property.

Exigent Circumstances

In some limited situations, the police may enter your home without a warrant if there are exigent circumstances. Exigent circumstances are emergencies which require immediate attention from the police or situations where waiting for a warrant would allow for destruction of evidence.

For example, if someone is actively involved in a police chase and runs for cover inside of a home, the police would not have to wait for a warrant. Likewise, if someone from your residence calls the police to report an assault or domestic violence by a family member, the police may be excused from having a warrant.

If the police are on your property for one of these situations, you will likely know the reason for their visit.

You May Not Be In Trouble

Just because the police are on your doorstep, it doesn’t mean that you have done something wrong. It could be that they are collecting information about a crime in the neighborhood, conducting a wellness check, etc.

Stay calm and be courteous if you do choose to speak with them. You are not obligated to answer any questions unless you are under arrest, so if you feel uncomfortable, you can simply state you don’t have more time to talk.

Plain View Doctrine

If you answer the door to speak with police and there are contraband or illegal items in plain sight, the police have the right to seize it. If you have items that you would rather the police didn’t see, you should keep them out of areas that are visible from the entrance to your home.

Call Beahm Law Today

If the police searched or requested to search your home, call us immediately.

Police don’t conduct random searches of homes, so if you have encountered this situation, it is imperative that you contact the lawyers at Beahm Law for a free consultation by calling 844-811-5444 so we can investigate and protect your rights.


Common Questions

  • National Geographic
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Berkeley Law
  • Duke Law
  • Lawyerist
  • Lawyernomics
  • Cision
  • Best of SF Winner
  • The National Trial Lawyers
  • 2020 Northern California Rising Stars Super Lawyer Award
  • 2019 Northern California Rising Stars Super Lawyer Award
  • 2018 Northern California Rising Stars Super Lawyer Award
  • 2017 Northern California Rising Stars Super Lawyer Award
  • Elite Lawyer for 2020

Each Year, We Protect Hundreds of Clients' Futures

Explore Our Practice Areas & See How We Can Help You

More Than 150 5-Star Reviews

See What Our Clients Are Saying About Us
    Best DUI lawyers in Los Angeles.

    “I love Jason. He helped me figure out what to do in a difficult situation. He’s the best with a cherry on top. Seriously, these guys rock.”

    - Staci M.
    The best DUI attorney in San Francisco!

    “Jason has more trial experience than anyone I have ever met and has more experience than anybody in the courthouse and seems to know everyone there. My outcome was incredibly positive! I couldn't ask for a better attorney.”

    - Subhi B.
    Super impressed with Jason's team and wholeheartedly recommend his firm.

    “Very, very easy to work with, and a seamless experience on a routine traffic violation. All electronic, easy communication, and consistent updates during the process.”

    - Mike G.
    Definitely hire Jason.

    “All charges were dropped. And the process was simple. I didn’t have to file paperwork, go to the courthouse, or deal with anything. Jason and his staff managed the whole affair. I’m so grateful!”

    - Rebecca B.
    Best decision I have ever made!

    “Jason helped me with my case in a professional and proficient manner. I will definitely come to Jason in the future for any upcoming issues I may have.”

    - Sara P.

What Sets Us Apart?

  • Personal Representation

    You work directly with your attorney every step of the way.

  • Virtual Services

    We utilize technology so you don't need to come into the office and in most cases, court.

  • Connected to the Local Community

    We have built close professional relationships with local judges and district attorneys and are deeply involved in the community.

  • Quick Response

    We get great results, and we get them fast!

Has a Bad Situation Upended Your Life?

Don’t Face it Alone.

How Can We Help You?

You can contact us using this form day or night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You will hear back from one of our attorneys the same day or next day.
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.