Residents in Michigan may come face to face with law enforcement at your door someday. If that situation ever happens, you should know how to react. You should also know what your rights are. This includes understanding when police can check your house and how you can deny them entry.
Is your home protected from searches without warrants?
Flex Your Rights looks at what you should do if an officer is at your door. The good news is that the home has maximum search protection. The Supreme Court decided this. What does this mean? Even with probable cause to search, an officer needs a signed search warrant from a judge. This is a 4th Amendment ruling and all officers must abide by it. It also differs from car searches. With a car search, an officer can look if they have probable reason to believe you committed a crime.
What if you consent to a search?
There is one exception to this rule. If you give an officer verbal consent to search your home, they are legally allowed to do so. If you invite them into your home, they can seize any item in plain view as evidence. They cannot search your house, but they can take anything you leave in the open.
To avoid this, you do not have to give officers consent to enter if they do not have a warrant. You can speak to them protected by your chain lock. You can also exit your home and close the door behind you, choosing to talk outside. Both of these are ways to send a message that you will not allow them in without a warrant. Of course, giving verbal denial to their entry requests is also important.