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The Knock & Talk: What to do When the Police Ask to Search Your Property

The text of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This is one of the core principles upon which our country was founded, and it means that the police cannot flippantly come into your home or other personal spaces such as your office and search or seize property simply because they want to. Probable cause can be subjective, but it essentially means that the police have to have good reason to suspect there is cause to conduct a search.
Without a warrant signed and issued by a judge, police officers do not have the right to search your property, with a few exceptions such as if they believe someone on the property is in immediate danger.
However, this does not stop the police from requesting that you allow them to search your property. In most cases, if the police are asking to search your property, it can mean one of two things.
First, it could mean that some sort of criminal activity or event has occurred that has given them probable cause to search your property, and they are simply waiting on the actual warrant. In this circumstance, whether you give them access or not, they will likely detain you and eventually be able to search your property anyway. This does not mean you should grant them access though, since you cannot know for certain if they will be granted the warrant.
The second circumstance in which the police may request access to search your property is known as the “knock and talk.” In this scenario, the police may have suspicions, but lack clear probable cause, and they are simply hoping that you will agree to grant them access by acting friendly or misleading you about their intentions. The only surefire safe response to the knock and talk is to politely deny consent to search your property.
Even if you believe you have not committed any sort of crime, if the police are requesting to search your home, rather than simply doing it, there is almost no situation where you should allow them to do so. Aside from the potential for the police finding evidence that can be used against you that they otherwise would not have found, there is also the practical matter of how much a police search can mess up and damage your home.
If the police ask you for access to search your property, you should always politely let them know that you are not comfortable granting them access or speaking to them until you have spoken with a lawyer. If you are faced with this situation, be sure to contact the Greg McCollum Complete Defense Team Today.

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