Do You Have to Answer the Door for Police in Pennsylvania?
People encounter the police almost daily, and it is not unusual to be approached by a police officer. If the police come to your home, you may or may not be required to answer the door, depending on why they are there.
In some cases, you do not have to answer the door for the police. However, there are many circumstances in which the police have special authority, and you must answer your door or face consequences. If the police only want to talk to you, you usually do not have to answer the door. However, if they have a warrant or are acting under certain emergency circumstances, you must open your door to the police. If you refuse to answer your door, the police might be authorized to come in by any means necessary, including force. You might also face criminal penalties for resisting arrest or hindering a criminal investigation.
If you are involved in a criminal investigation and are worried about the police coming to your home, our Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys can help you protect yourself and your rights. For a free case review, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667.
Do I Have to Answer My Door for the Police in Pennsylvania?
There may come a time when the police are knocking on your front door, and you are unsure what to do. On the one hand, the police can be very intimidating, and many people are too afraid to leave the door unanswered. On the other hand, answering the door might make you vulnerable to law enforcement, and there is no telling what might happen next. Just know that if the police come to your door, you do not necessarily have to open it to them.
The police might come to your door to ask a few questions about a criminal investigation, but you do not have to answer the door or speak to them unless certain conditions are present. Generally, if you are not being arrested or searched and there is no urgent reason for the police to enter your home, you are not required to open the door.
The police are not always forthcoming about why they want to talk. Before opening the door, you can ask them (through the closed door) why they are there. If their answer is insufficient, you should ask them the following questions: Am I under arrest? Do you have a warrant? Am I required by law to talk to you? If the answer to these questions is no, you do not have to answer your door. After the police leave, you should immediately call our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys and talk about what happened, as you might be in legal trouble or under investigation.
Answering the Door When the Police Have a Warrant in Pennsylvania
As discussed above, there are times when the police are acting with special authority, and you must answer your door when they come knocking. Always remember that the police cannot enter your home, take you into custody, or invade your space without a warrant. If the police demand to speak to you, you should demand to see a warrant first.
You must answer the door if the police have a warrant to arrest someone or search the premises. A warrant is a special document that grants the police special authority over people. An arrest warrant allows the police to take people into custody by force if necessary, and search warrants allow them to investigate private property. It is illegal to defy a warrant, and you might face criminal charges if you do not open the door in such a case.
If law enforcement agents come to your door and arrest you or search your home, you should contact our Montgomery County criminal defense attorneys immediately. The criminal justice process is long and complicated, and an attorney can help you protect your rights.
Answering Your Door for Police Acting Under Exigent Circumstances in Pennsylvania
The police do not always need a warrant to enter your home. While arrests and searches typically must be accompanied by a lawful warrant, there are various exceptions to this rule. This makes dealing with the police on your front doorstep especially tricky. Police officers might claim to have an exception to the warrant requirement, but there is really no way you can verify their claims. Even if you do not believe them, they are still permitted to act on their beliefs and enter your home or take you into custody.
Exigent circumstances are like emergencies in which the police must enter your home in the interest of justice or safety. For example, if a fleeing suspect ran into your home, the police would not knock on your door and ask permission to search; they would simply enter. If you tried to prevent them from doing so, you would likely get into serious trouble.
Another emergency or exigent circumstance in which you must answer the door for police would be if they were executing an arrest and needed to sweep the premises to ensure safety. Interfering with an arrest or search, whether or not you believe it is being lawfully executed, is not a good idea. After, you should immediately call our Easton, PA criminal defense attorneys.
What Happens if I refuse to Answer the Door for the Police in Pennsylvania?
If the police are at your door with a warrant or claim there is some emergency or exigent circumstance and they need to enter, you must answer the door. If you do not, you might be criminally charged. If you did not cooperate with law enforcement and are now facing charges, our Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys can help you.
If the police needed to execute an arrest warrant, but you refused to open the door, you might be charged with evading arrest. If you took steps to keep the police out, like barricading the door, you are more likely to face charges or other penalties. Even if you do not open the door, the police might break it down.
Even if you are not being arrested or even the subject of a criminal investigation, you might face charges for preventing the police from entering your home with a warrant. For example, if your residence is implicated in a crime and the police show up at your door with a search warrant, you must open the door and comply with the police. Failure to do so might lead to charges for hindering the investigation or obstructing justice.
Call Our Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorneys for a Free Case Evaluation
If the police recently came to your house and knocked on your door, there is a chance you or someone you know is under criminal investigation. Whether or not you answered the door, you should call our Chester County criminal defense attorneys for help. For a free case review, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667.