What should I do if the police show up with a warrant?
Let’s face it, if the police are at your door with a warrant, you know that your life (and probably your house) is about to be turned upside down. The police suspect you of a crime, and they are searching for evidence to support their claim. So what should you do?
The answers really all fall within one category: DON’T MAKE THINGS WORSE.
(1) Don’t resist.
We want to avoid any situation that is going to make things worse. So, don’t add a charge of resisting and obstructing a police officer to the potential crimes that you may be facing. Unlike a situation where the police want your consent to search (in which case you should always refuse), the police have a court order allowing them to search your home. You must allow them in, and permit them to search.
(2) Don’t consent to expand the scope of their search.
Search warrants must state the specific scope of their search. It will describe the place to be searched and the kinds of items that the police search may search for. When the police arrive, they may find other places or things that they want to search. They’re like kids in a candy store, and they are always going to want more than their parent (the Judge) gave them permission to take. If they don’t have a warrant for it, they might try to obtain your consent to search outside the scope of the warrant. Do not let them.
(3) Do not try to destroy evidence.
Again in the category of not increasing the number of criminal charges you can be facing, if the police arrive at your home with a search warrant, don’t try to destroy evidence. Depending on what they are investigating you for, destruction of the evidence might cause you to be charged with an even more serious crime. That would be awfully silly.
(4) Do not answer their questions.
Even my four year old will tell you, “Don’t talk to the police. They take you to jail.” He’s right. The worst thing that you can do is talk to the cops. Even though the police are in your house gathering evidence, many times they can’t connect up that evidence directly to you without you making a statement that helps them to do so. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Don’t answer even seemingly innocent or mundane questions. I guarantee that you will come to regret it later. Repeat after me: “I do not wish to speak to you without my lawyer.” If the cops keep asking you questions, rinse and repeat.
(5) Don’t be an asshole.
If you are following rule number four, this really shouldn’t be a problem, but this probably still needs to be said. You can exercise your constitutional rights without acting like a total jerk. Don’t get me wrong – I can understand being pissed that a bunch of cops are rifling through your underwear drawer – but you can end up making the experience much worse if you treat them like crap. The police are a lot more likely to treat you like a human being if you can manage to be polite and respectful. And it doesn’t give them the opportunity to use your asshole behavior against you in front of a jury later.
If the police show up at your house with a search warrant, you are going to need a rock star attorney in your corner. Call a Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney at Miel & Carr, PLC for a consultation at 616-773-2945.