If you live in Mississippi, you may benefit from learning more about what rights you have when police stop at your door. Your rights to personal privacy and the limitations on the government to infringe on those rights are covered by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, detailing search and seizure protections.
Search and seizures
Generally speaking, police are only allowed to perform reasonable searches justified by probable cause or the suspicion of criminal activity. Police typically have to obtain a search warrant from a judge before they are allowed to search or confiscate someone’s property. The search warrant must name the subject of the investigation, the items being search for and the location they want to search. If the evidence provided is lacking, the judge may deny the warrant request.
Police knocking at your door
If police are at the door, you don’t have to let them in without a warrant. Otherwise, they need permission to enter. If they have a warrant, you can have them slip it under the door or review it outside before letting them in. Some warrants allow police to enter the premises without knocking or getting permission. Incriminating evidence officers see in plain view can be seized without a warrant.
Searching without a warrant
Officers can also search if there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy, like collecting trash left on the curb. If officers believe there are exigent circumstances where someone’s in danger they can enter without permission. If police are in hot pursuit, they may enter and search locations without a warrant due to the exigent circumstances. If officers search or seize property illegally without a warrant, a judge may rule that the evidence collected is inadmissible in court.