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The cop at the door: do I let him in?

We assume that a cop can’t and won’t do anything that is illegal. We think we know law because we watch crime shows on television. We believe we know how courts work from watching movies.

But, the truth is that many of us never took a civics class and most of what we see on T.V. and in the movies is inaccurate – changed and enhanced for drama and effect.

What’s true, what’s not?

If a cop comes to my house, asks to come in, sees contraband and arrests me, it’s an illegal arrest, right? Doesn’t he need a warrant?

The answer is: no. He does not.

This flies in the face of everything we think we know. How can a cop arrest me in my own home – even with illegal items in plain view – without a warrant? The simple truth is this: you let him in.

The Fourth Amendment

The U.S. Constitution provides us many protections. It is a document laced with genius. But the document and its protections are only as good as those who enforce it. And to enforce it, we need to know how it works and what it says.

The Fourth Amendment protects us from illegal search and seizure. When, however, we invite or allow law enforcement into our home, we give up that protection. No warrant is needed, and although law enforcement cannot go rooting through our things – a warrant would be needed for that – a cop can indeed, arrest us for any illegal activity or contraband that they see in plain sight.

Protect yourself and your loved ones

Just say no to a cop if they approach you or come to your door.  There is no need to be rude. In fact, belligerence can backfire. But, politely and firmly implementing your rights guarantees your future and gives you the protection your forefathers gave you.

 

 

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