Sometime after midnight on a Saturday, you hear a knock at your door. The person knocking announces that they are a police officer. Are you required to open the door?
You do not have to acknowledge the officer if they do not state a purpose. However, if the officer proclaims they have a warrant, you should ask to see it.
How does a search warrant get issued?
After a law enforcement officer files an affidavit requesting the search, a judge issues a warrant. The officer must list a complete description of the address or location they want to search. Alternatively, the warrant can authorize a search for a specific person, vehicle or other personal property. The affiant must select one of five options for how the property the officer is looking for may have been part of the commission of a crime. The officer must sign an affirmation that reasonable cause exists to believe the items are at the location or in possession of the party subject to the warrant.
How does the officer execute the warrant?
The officer will arrive at the designated location and seek entry. The officer should announce that they have a warrant for a search. You can ask to see the warrant. If the warrant appears valid, you must let them onto your premises to conduct the search. The police must execute any search reasonably.
You may find an interaction with law enforcement intimidating. You should cooperate where appropriate, but always know you have rights.