If the police illegally enter your home, they know that they cannot use any evidence they find in court. This is known as the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. Essentially, evidence is deemed illegal if the initial actions taken to obtain it were also illegal, and so it can’t be used against you, even if it would lead to conviction.
As such, the police will do their best to enter your home in a legal fashion while they search for this evidence. Here are three ways that they can do it.
Entering in an emergency
First and foremost, emergency situations are a bit of a gray area where the police simply have to show the court, after the fact, that entering your house was warranted. An example of this could be if the police try to stop a vehicle, the driver decides to run from the officer and then that driver gets out and runs into a home. The police will be able to go into the home because they are pursuing the driver, even though there would be no time to take any official steps to get that permission in advance.
Getting a warrant
The permission referenced above is simply a warrant, which can be given out by a judge. In most cases, when the police want to go into someone’s home, they will present the evidence that they have to the judge. The judge will then decide if there is probable cause for a warrant. If it is granted, then the police are allowed to enter the home in order to execute the warrant, in accordance with the restrictions of that document.
Getting your consent
Finally, the police always do have the option to ask you, or someone else who lives in the home, for their consent to enter. You do not have to provide it if you don’t want to, but they likely will ask. Remember that they can also ask roommates or other family members, so there may be ways to get inside without even speaking to you personally.
If you find yourself facing serious charges, then you need to know about all of your legal defense options.