Can I Refuse a Search or Refuse To Speak To An Officer in Maryland?
Maryland criminal lawyer Kush Arora answers questions about whether you have to consent to a search or to a conversation with a police officer.
If a police officer wants to search my car, my home, or my person, do I have a choice?
Kush: It depends on what the search is and how the search is being effectuated. If an officer wants to search your home, he’s not allowed to walk into your home and simply search it; he has to have a warrant in order for that to happen. If an officer shows up at your home asking if he can search it and you don’t want him to, you do not have to let him search your home. If an officer has a valid warrant that has been signed by a proper authority, then the officer does not need your permission to search your home. The judge that signed that warrant has granted the officer permission to enter your home.
If an officer is going to get a warrant to search a person’s home, that warrant is going to need to be very specific as to the reasons the officer believes he has a basis to search the home and what, if any, information he can provide to support those reasons why he believes it’s appropriate to search the home and under what limitations he’s permitted to search the home. The Constitution does allow for a heightened level of privacy in an individual’s home and does require the police department to go through a number of checks and balances to make sure that it’s appropriate to cross that threshold and enter somebody’s private property without their consent.