Knock and Talk
If police officers knock on your door and ask if they can come inside and talk to you, should you agree to let them come inside? If you want to maintain your privacy, we believe that you should not let the officers come inside.
A “knock and talk” investigation involves officers knocking on the door of a residence, identifying themselves as officers, asking to talk to the occupant about a criminal complaint, and eventually requesting permission to search the residence. These knock and talk investigations do not, per se, violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection of unreasonable searches and seizures; the prevailing rule is that police officers, in the course of their official business, are permitted to approach one’s dwelling and seek permission to question an occupant. If they are permitted inside your residence, any observations by police officers standing in a place that they have been invited are not considered searches in a constitutional sense. Anything that the officers see, hear, or smell inside the residence will be considered evidence not obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and thusly useable as evidence in a court of law.
If the police come knocking and wanting to talk and you decide that you want to speak to the officers, step outside and shut your door firmly behind you. Unless you are sure you want to let them in, do not agree to let the officers come inside unless they show you a warrant.
Vonderheide & Knecht: Serving Lafayette’s Legal Needs Since 1992
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