Just Don’t Do It! – Don’t Let the Police Inside! ©

I have been practicing law for many years in Metropolitan Atlanta and have seen a wide variety of reactions to getting arrested. Some of these reactions are unwise, but understandable. Others are self defeating to the point of being bizarre.  Sometimes I just shake my head and say, “Lord have mercy!”  No one plans to be arrested.  It can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time.

Are you prepared to deal with that life changing moment?  Children get arrested too.  Are you prepared to educate your child on how to deal with that situation?   Let’s think about what you will do and not do if you ever hear the phrase, “Put your hands behind you.” To guard your rights and interests, the simplest TO DO rule is to do what you are told. Simple, but somehow it often escapes someone who is either scared or intoxicated. More important to guarding your rights and interests is knowing what NOT TO DO.  Each week, I will give you my tip on what you SHOULD NOT do if you are arrested. — Just Don’t Do It!  This week I will talk about how to handle the police when they come to your house without a warrant and want to talk to you.

It is the duty of the law enforcement officer to investigate crimes.  However, a law enforcement officer does not have the right to enter your home unless he has probable cause to believe that a crime has occurred, if he has a search warrant or warrant for your arrest, or if you gave him your consent to enter.  If you are at your home when the police come knocking, do not invite the police inside, nor should you follow the officer’s request to “step outside.”  You could respond with any of the following: “No, you may not come in.  I am comfortable talking right here.”, or “Do you have a warrant to arrest me?”, or “Do you have a warrant to enter my home?”  Remember the esteem professor from Harvard University, who just happened to be a close friend of President Obama, was arrested by local police for obstruction after the police convinced him to step outside his home to discuss why the officers mistakenly believed that he was burglarizing his own home.  He could have avoided being arrested by continuing to speak with the officers from inside the door of his home while the police stood outside.  The professor was very upset and was voicing his displeasure with the actions of the police.  There was nothing that the police could do until they got the professor to step outside his home.  Once outside they immediately arrested him for obstruction.  In any situation stay calm and listen to the officer’s questions.  Do not make the situation worst by becoming belligerent or shouting at the officer.  An obstruction charge will be sure to follow.  Don’t voluntarily invite the police into your home, nor should you voluntarily exit your home and step outside to talk to the police.  JUST DON’T DO IT!

Attorney Emerson Carey, Jr. has been a trial lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia for over 21 years. He is an adjunct professor at Emory University School of law where he teaches trial advocacy. Attorney Carey can be reached at 404-635-1112, 1-877-635-1112, and ecarey@careydobson.com.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Every criminal prosecution is based on its individual facts and requires an independent evaluation by a licensed, experienced attorney.