THIS STUFF IS SOOO IMPORTANT TO KNOW. Seriously. It’s saved my ass before.
What do you do when you look through the peephole and see a badge?
Remember: You do not have to let the police in the house unless they have a warrant — or probable cause. If you’re having a party, turn off the music, ask your guests to chill, and ask that anyone who’s too intoxicated carry on in another room.
Go outside to speak with the cops. Close the door behind you. Although some scary precedents are being set these days, police cannot enter your home without a warrant or probable cause. By closing the door, you’re cutting off a visual — or olfactory — line to potential probable cause.
Be polite. Ask why they are there. “Good evening, Officer. What can I help you with?”
Where possible, assure them you will take care of the problem. If the police ask to enter, inform them, “I do not consent to any searches.” If a police officer gives you an order and you are confused about your position, ask, “Do I have to comply?” If they continue with questioning, tell them you’ll need to call your lawyer and that you will not answer any questions.
Ask, “Am I free to leave?” This is especially handy if, say, a group of you’d been too bawdy on the patio and an officer stops by. If he/she is getting a bit hot under the collar, politely ask, “Am I being detained?” or “Am I free to leave?” If the cop has no reason to hold you, quickly, quietly, and politely retreat inside.