Carter, Carter & Carter, Attorneys at Law, LLC

Georgia police are at your door: Do you know your rights?

Like many adults in Georgia, you were likely raised to respect authority, cooperate and be polite toward any adults who were in charge of your care. Children often carry these lessons into adulthood, which, in many cases can be beneficial when interacting with employers, military leaders or police.

You may assume that if a police officer knocks on your door, you are supposed to invite him or her inside and cooperate as best you can. Cooperation is always a good idea; however, if the officer has shown up unannounced and suspects you of a crime, it is critical that you know what you are legally obligated to do (or not) to protect your rights and avoid self-incrimination.

First things first

Hearing an unexpected knock on your door, only to learn moments later that Georgia police officers are standing outside, can be stressful. When you are afraid, it can be difficult to think; however, if you research your rights ahead of time, it may help you remain calm and act accordingly. The following are tips that can be helpful in these circumstances:

  • You are not legally obligated to open your door. You can speak through a window or crack your door open to find out what the officers want.
  • You can also choose to step outside and close your door behind you, especially if there are children at home and you want to keep the situation out of their earshot.
  • If the police ask to enter your home, you may tell them you do not consent. You may also ask to see a search warrant that a judge has recently signed.
  • If an officer starts asking you questions, remember that you do not have to answer them without the benefit of legal representation.
  • If at any time police threaten you with arrest or tell you that you will go to jail for not answering their questions, you can make a mental note of the situation and bring it to the court's attention later, if they arrest you.
  • If police have a valid search warrant, you must allow them to enter and search your home; however, you have rights that are protected under the Fourth Amendment against unlawful searches and seizures.
  • A search warrant may not apply to your entire house. It is critical that you clearly understand the warrant police may be showing you at the time.

If a situation like this results in your arrest, try to stay calm and use the resources available to you to help mitigate your circumstances. It's helpful to seek support from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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P.O. Box 381
Adel, GA 31620

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