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Mark I. Cohen, ESQ. NYC Criminal Attorney

What Rights Do You Have If The Police Come Knocking At Your Door?


In the United States of America, the privacy of a person’s home is highly respected even in the Constitution. According to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, you have the right to be secure in your home and against unreasonable searches and seizures. In the U.S., the police cannot just enter your home anyhow.

Unfortunately, not many people understand their rights if police unexpectedly come knocking. If you are in New York and see the New York Police Department or other law enforcement or people that look like law enforcement at your door, you should know that you have several rights. Below is a look at some of your rights if the police come knocking at your door in New York.

Your Rights When the Police Come Knocking

Firstly, you need to know that you have the right to refuse to open the door if the police come knocking. And, without your consent, the police can only enter your home if they have a search warrant, an arrest warrant, or if there are exigent circumstances. For example, when it comes to exigent circumstances, the police can enter your house even if they see someone harming someone inside or destroying evidence.

Secondly, if you decide to open the door for the police, you have the right to talk to them through the door to determine why they are at your house. Generally, you are under no legal obligation to let the police into your home if they do not have a warrant or court order. Additionally, if your door has a chain, you have the right to speak to the police with the door only slightly open.

Police Have Rights Too

Apart from understanding the rights you have if the police come knocking at your door in New York, it is also vital that you understand the rights that police have. Firstly, the police have the right to approach your door and knock or ring the doorbell, and this right is recognized even by the courts. Secondly, the police have the right to be treated with respect and courtesy at all times, including when they come knocking at your door. Additionally, you are required not to threaten the safety of the police or anyone else, for that matter, that comes knocking at your door. For example, when the police come knocking at your door, you should avoid approaching the door with a noticeable firearm or another weapon or any sudden movements.

If the police come knocking and you find yourself feeling unsure about what to do, do not hesitate to contact your attorney and ask for guidance. Remember, how you react when law enforcement officers come knocking on your door could determine your future.

Contact an NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are ever in a situation where you are unsure of the steps to take once the police come knocking at your door, don’t hesitate to contact our New York criminal attorney at Mark I. Cohen Esq. The experienced Mark I. Cohen can also help you if the police arrest you after entering your home.

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