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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default When Are You Required to Open the Door for the Police

    An officer came to my door of my place of residence and said they were there to ask questions. Was I legally required to open the door? I know I am not required to answer any questions. Am I legally required to open the door?

    I told the officer I would be right there and come right out, I just needed to get my shoes and text a friend who is a law proffessor because I wanted them present on the phone for any questioning.

    The officer didn't wait a second. The officer walked around to my kitchen window as I was doing what I said I was - grabbing my shoes and walking to the door (and texting the law proffesor friend to see if they were availible - they were out of the country). They could see all of this through the windows of my home and the windows of the door. The officer saw that I had a guest in my home. The officer told the guest they would be arrested if they did not come and immediately open the door.

    My guest hesitated, and I just stood there for a second just shocked. I suddenly felt like I really needed a lawyer present... I didn't know what to do. The officer started screaming to open the door. I had no idea what the hell was going on. My guest came up and comforted me and told the officer they were comming. They opened the door, just as my law proffessor friend called me from out of the country. Police records say all the events took about 3.5 minutes from when they showed up to when they radioed that I was in handcuffs.

    When they walked in, they arrested me immediately. They had a municipal warrant. They asked no questions.

    I'm confused.

    If an officer demands to open my door, and does not state they have a warrant or court order, am I required to open the door to my home?

    Is any guest in my home required?

    If they had stated they had a warrant (and they only said they were just there to just question me) would I be required? I assume I would be. I would at least be required to go outside and be arrested at my door or just outside my door.

    If my guest had continued to refuse to open the door, would the officer really have been able to charge them with a crime for obstruction? The officer said they were only there to ask questions of me. Is it obstruction of justice for a guest in my home to refuse to open the door to my home to question me and to leave that up to me? The guest says the officer was adamant they were just there to question - and yes I know it is legal for the police to lie like this. If the officer had informed the guest there was a warrant would that have changed our rights or responsibilities about opening the door or not? about the accusation that it was obstruction of justice to not open the door?

    Thankfully my guest was not arrested. I was.

    What were my rights?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    9,898

    Default Re: When Are You Required to Open the Door for the Police

    If they had a warrant for your arrest, they were allowed to come in and get you.
    They don't have to state that they have a warrant, depending on the situation it might help or hinder them to do so.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    North East
    Posts
    1,969

    Default Re: When Are You Required to Open the Door for the Police

    An officer came to my door of my place of residence and said they were there to ask questions. Was I legally required to open the door? I know I am not required to answer any questions. Am I legally required to open the door?
    What I'm about to say may not be a situation in your case, but read it out as to understand when you are required to comply with opening the door for the police.

    (1) If a call was placed to 911 and the caller hung the phone up before the 911 operator had answered the call the police would be sent to the address that the phone was issued to and the resident would have to comply with the police knocking on the door.

    (2) If the police are investigating a crime and knock on your door, you do not have to comply with the officer.

    (3) If the police knock on your door and they have a summons or a warrant, you must comply with the officer.


    If an officer demands to open my door, and does not state they have a warrant or court order, am I required to open the door to my home?
    If the officer never stated he had a warrant or summons you do not have to comply, but you should. All you would have to say is that they would need a warrant to enter the home and that you will not answer any questions without a lawyer present.


    Is any guest in my home required?
    Not if they didn't have a warrant or summons.

    If they had stated they had a warrant (and they only said they were just there to just question me) would I be required? I assume I would be. I would at least be required to go outside and be arrested at my door or just outside my door.
    With a warrant You would have to comply and they can enter your residence to apprehend you.

    If my guest had continued to refuse to open the door, would the officer really have been able to charge them with a crime for obstruction? The officer said they were only there to ask questions of me. Is it obstruction of justice for a guest in my home to refuse to open the door to my home to question me and to leave that up to me? The guest says the officer was adamant they were just there to question - and yes I know it is legal for the police to lie like this. If the officer had informed the guest there was a warrant would that have changed our rights or responsibilities about opening the door or not? about the accusation that it was obstruction of justice to not open the door?
    Yes, your guest could have been charged with obstruction of justice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: When Are You Required to Open the Door for the Police

    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
    (1) If a call was placed to 911 and the caller hung the phone up before the 911 operator had answered the call the police would be sent to the address that the phone was issued to and the resident would have to comply with the police knocking on the door.
    The resident does not have to open the door for the police or even talk with the police. Although the hung-up 911 call may provide enough justification for the police to enter the curtilage all around the house as part of their investigation, the possibility of an emergency is not one of those exigent circumstances that allow police to enter a home without consent or a warrant.

    If the police investigation outside the house looking in revealed an exigent circumstance, such as someone in bodily danger, or a fire, or contraband capable of being destroyed, then the police would have beena allowed to enter without permission or a warrant.

    (3) If the police knock on your door and they have a summons or a warrant, you must comply with the officer.
    If the police say they have a warrant, you do have to open the door, or else they have the right to break the door down.
    If the police do not say they have a warrant (e.g., if they only say they have a summons), you do not have to open the door or even talk with the police.
    If the police have a No Knock warrant, they are coming in regardless of what you do.

    If the officer never stated he had a warrant or summons you do not have to comply, but you should.
    Any lawyer worth his salt would tell you to not let the officer enter your home, unless you called the police.

    Quote Quoting someone31
    If my guest had continued to refuse to open the door, would the officer really have been able to charge them with a crime for obstruction?
    Not legally.

    The sanctity of your home protects both you and your guest. Both you and your guest have a constitutional right to refuse entry into a home by police. It is never obstruction of justice to exercise your constitutional rights.

    (I apologize for the late response, but I thought it worthwhile to give an accurate answer.)

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