What To Do If the Police Are At Your Door With a Warrant!!!

Posted by Corey L. Scott | Mar 03, 2023 | 0 Comments

Having the police knocking on a person's door and asking to come in and search the property can be a very overwhelming and scary experience. Hence, homeowners should know what to do in these situations so they're not caught off guard and fall victim to police officers' abuse of authority.

Ask for Identification

Before even opening the door for the police officers, the homeowner should ask for some type of identification so they are aware of who they're dealing with. It's recommended that they verify the identity of the police officers through a peephole, windows, security cameras, etc., and in the meantime, keep the doors locked.

Ask for a Search Warrant

Homeowners should know that they are not obligated to open the door for the officers and let them in unless they have a valid search warrant. They should ask to see the warrant immediately after verifying the police officers' identities.

If they cannot present one, the homeowner can kindly say that they do not consent to searches and ask the officers to leave.


Verify if the Warrant is Valid

Should the officers have a warrant, the next thing to do is to review it. The homeowner should read it in its entirety and assess whether or not it is valid. A valid search warrant should be:

  1. Signed by the judge
  2. Specific as to the property to be searched
  3. Specific as to items to be seized

Generally, officers are not allowed to search, confiscate, or seize anything outside of the authority given to them by the judge. The limits should be indicated in the search warrant. There is, however, an exception to this rule called the plain view doctrine.


Plain View Doctrine

The plain view doctrine allows police officers to seize items not indicated in the warrant if it is sitting in plain view. For example, if they find illegal drugs or firearms on a coffee table while conducting their search, they do not need to go to court and get another warrant. Under the plain view doctrine, they can seize anything clearly illegal in plain view.


Exercise Your Rights

Most homeowners make the mistake of opening their doors for police officers without question. However, it is well within their rights to first assess the situation by verifying the officers' identities, asking for a search warrant, and checking if the warrant is valid.

About the Author

Corey L. Scott

Corey L. Scott, was born and raised in East Chicago, Indiana. Upon graduation from East Chicago Central High School, Corey attended Indiana State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology.  Upon graduation, Corey accepted a position with the Marion County Superior Court, Juvenile Division where he served with distinction for the next nine years, eventually being promoted to Director of the Youth Counseling Department. Pursuing his dream of becoming an attorney, Corey attended the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.  While in law school, Corey was an Indiana Council on Legal Education Opportunity (ICLEO) fellow and participated in Moot Court competitions.  He also worked in the Marion Superior Court, Criminal Division as a bailiff and research assistant to the Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt, who serves as a Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Corey also served as an internship law clerk to the Honorable Judge, Margret G. Robb, at the Indiana Court of Appeals. Finally, upon graduation from law school, Corey had the distinct honor and privilege to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Justice, Robert D. Rucker, who sits on the Indiana Supreme Court. Corey then became an associate with Mike Norris Law Office, where he specialized in bankruptcy law with a main concentration on working to assist families obtain a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Still a young attorney, Corey then served as a public defender at the Marion County Public Defender Agency.  In this position, Corey gained invaluable trial experience by defending clients in a wide range of matters from misdemeanors to serious felonies on a daily basis.  It was also during this time that Corey discovered his passion for representing and serving "everyday people." An entrepreneur at heart, Corey established the Law Office of Corey L. Scott, P.C.  Since then, he and his staff have served the greater Indianapolis community and surrounding counties in several legal disciplines including: Bankruptcy, Criminal Defense and Family Law.  In keeping with his vision, Corey L. Scott, P.C., is a client focused, results oriented general law practice that endeavors to provide legal solutions for "everyday people" charged with a crime, dealing with financial crisis or going through a difficult divorce. Corey has also been active serving the greater Indianapolis community by participating in pro bono programs such as "Ask a Lawyer," the "Modest Means" panel program which allows individuals to afford legal counsel at a fraction of normal rates, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and the Heartland Pro Bono Council program. Corey is a proud member of the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indiana Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.


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