It can be a frightening experience to have the police pound on your door. Even if you always obey the law, you will likely feel nervous about why they have come to your home. If they ask to come inside, you might instinctively want to let them in. However, this may not be the best way to handle the situation.
Many people think that cooperating with the police will reduce their likelihood of issues later. However, once the police are in your home, they could keep searching if they find anything questionable and then possibly arrest you.
Do you have to let them in when they ask to come inside?
You often have the right to refuse entry
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. The police cannot engage in certain behaviors without likely making any evidence they find inadmissible in court. Actions by the police that violate your rights can make it harder to build a case against you.
That includes a search of your residence without consent or a warrant. They want your permission so that anything they find can be used against you in court. If an officer has to ask to come inside, they likely do not have probable cause to justify entering without your permission.
Police can typically enter your residence without consent only in situations where they have probable cause that a crime has occurred or a warrant. Concerns about the imminent destruction of evidence could also justify forced entry in some cases. Knowing when the police can demand to enter your property can help you fight pending criminal charges.