Can You Tell the Police to Get Off Your Property?

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution gives everyone the right to refuse unwanted intrusion on their property. But if police officers show up, what are your rights? Can you tell the police to leave your property just like you would do to any other person? Here are some important insights from an experienced Greenville criminal defense lawyer.

Police Officers Cannot Be Present on Your Property without Reason

The police must comply with state and federal laws, not only enforce them. Therefore, officers cannot just show up and gain entrance on your property without any reason at all.

However, they have the right to stand right outside your property and perform a visual inspection. Unless your fence blocks the view completely, the police can walk around your property and make observations.

Police May Enter the Gate and Knock on Your Door

If a police officer needs to interact with you, they have the right to walk through the front yard and knock on your door. Legally speaking, every homeowner gives a general permission to anyone to walk through the front yard (known as the curtilage) and knock on the door, unless you have a “No Trespassing” sign.

Even so, police officers may legally ignore the sign and reach your front door to make inquiries.

How to Tell the Police to Leave Your Property

When you see a police officer approaching your front door, it is important to remain calm and respectful. If you act suspiciously or violently, you are offering the officer probable cause to enter your home and make investigations.

First of all, ask the officer if they have a warrant. Without a warrant, an officer cannot enter a property, search for evidence or perform an arrest. If the police officer does not have a warrant, state in clear and certain terms that you do not consent to their presence on your property.

Valid Reasons to Refuse the Presence of Police on Your Property

In some cases, the police officer may press for a reason why you would want them to leave your property. Again, remain calm and courteous and do not give the officer reasons to feel threatened.

Here are just a few reasons you can invoke without raising any suspicions:

  • You believe the officer’s person is unwarranted or unnecessary
  • There is no legal justification for the officer’s presence at your property
  • You believe your constitutional rights are violated
  • You wish to assert your right to privacy and control over your property

the police can look into your yard through the fence

Exceptions When the Officer Can Enter the Property without the Owner’s Consent

When you consult with a Greenville criminal defense lawyer after the officers’ unwanted presence at your property, the attorney may identify various situations where your rights are overridden.

There are several exceptions that allow officers to enter and stay on your property despite your refusal to give them the right to do so:

1. Exigent Circumstances

An exigent circumstance is a situation when the officer must enter a property in order to prevent or stop the commission of a crime. For example, if someone is seriously injured near your property and the officer’s walkie talkie or mobile phone is not working, they have the right to enter your property and announce the emergency.

Or, the officer may have observed someone breaking into your home through a window without your knowledge. In this case, the officer can respond to the situation and apprehend the burglar.

2. Probable Cause

Police officers can enter a property and perform a search if they have probable cause that:

  • A felon is hiding on the property
  • Drugs or stolen goods are present on the property
  • You or another person in your come is in the process of committing a crime

3. Responding to a Complaint

Finally, officers can enter your property without your consent if a neighbor made a complaint about you. For example, they called to report that you are playing loud music and disturbing their sleep.

In this case, the officer can enter your property and talk to you and make observations to ascertain if the neighbor’s complaint is valid.

Let an Experienced Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyer Protect Your Rights!

If you told the police to leave your property and they still remained, you may have the right to report them for violation of your constitutional rights. Or you may find that the officers charge you with a crime after making observations at your home.

In any situation, the best decision is to consult with an experienced Greenville criminal defense lawyer and understand your rights and legal options.

We offer each new client a free case review, so call us today: 864-777-4615!

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