Most people are not happy to see a police officer at their door. Even if you have done nothing wrong, you may be hesitant to answer the door for the police who are knocking.
Police officers cannot enter your home without a warrant in Maryland. They cannot get a warrant without probable cause, which means they have reason to believe a crime is occurring in your home or evidence of a crime will be found in your home.
Ask to see the search warrant
The police officers must show you the warrant. You have a right to review the warrant before letting them in. After they knock, if you choose to answer the door, ask to see a copy of the warrant.
You do not have to open the door to see the warrant. You can ask them to slide it through the door or hold it up to a window.
When police officers have a warrant, they are still legally required to knock and announce their presence before coming into your home.
Be polite and respectful to the officers. Acting belligerently or refusing them entry after they show you a valid warrant will only cause you further trouble and could lead to criminal charges.
No-knock search warrants
There are certain times that police officers with a warrant do not have to knock and announce their presence. They do this when they have a special type of warrant called a “no-knock search warrant.”
Police do not have to knock and announce their presence when exigent circumstances exist. This means that there is an emergency where time is crucial and knocking and announcing their presence could allow a suspect to escape, result in a loss of evidence or threaten public safety.
No-knock search warrants have come under scrutiny in recent years. It is important to know your rights when it comes to search warrants and how police must act under certain circumstances.