Michael K. Allen & Associates
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Ohio police are knocking: Do you have to let them in?

When you're not expecting company and someone knocks on your door, it can really startle you. However, Ohio police often use such tactics as a means to catch people by surprise, especially if they think they might find them in the middle of some type of illegal activity. If you automatically open the door and allow police officers to enter when they pay an unannounced visit, you may be setting yourself up for some serious legal problems.

Then again, if you face a legal obligation to let the officers in and you refuse, that may only make matters worse. The question is: How do you know the difference of when you may deny a police officer entry and when you must comply with his or her request to step inside your home? Even though such situations can be quite unsettling, remembering that you have rights and knowing where to seek support if a problem arises places you one step ahead of the game if you wind up facing arrest.

The U.S. Constitution protects your rights

Like all Ohio residents and those in other states, you have a right to privacy and security. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful searches or seizures. The following list explains those rights further and lets you know what to do if someone violates them:

  • The U.S. government may not intrude upon your privacy. This goes for your home, your person, your vehicle or any other personal property.
  • In order to conduct a search, investigators may show a valid search warrant or satisfy the requirements for exceptions to the rule.
  • To determine whether police had reasonable cause to invade your privacy and search your home or property, you must first establish that you had a right to privacy from the start. For instance, you typically might expect privacy when you are at home.
  • Evidence gathered under violation of your personal rights may not be admissible in court.

You may choose to step outside your house if police pay an unexpected visit. You may also choose to close the door behind you and refuse to allow them entry if you believe they have not met the requirements for reasonable cause. Whether or not you allow police inside your home, your situation may get a lot worse before it gets better.

Preserving your freedom

If prosecutors file charges against you at some point, a key to avoiding conviction may lie in the type of defense you present to the court. This is why most Ohio defendants rely on experienced legal representation, especially if they plan to challenge a portion or all of the evidence against them.

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