Can a non-resident answer or open the door of your home without permission and allow the police to enter?

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Can a non-resident answer or open the door of your home without permission and allow the police to enter?

Non-resident opened door to police when they knocked upon the door without permission of legal resident. This resulted in pot being found.

Asked on August 23, 2010 under Criminal Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You have done a good job identifying a potential suppression issue in this case.  As you may know, the fourth amendment requires the police to have a warrant before they enter a private residence.  If they enter illegally, then any evidence that they obtain may be considered the "fruit of the poisonous tree" and subject to suppression.  That being said, there are several exceptions to the warrant requirement, one of which is consent to enter.  As you identify, the question here relates to whether a "non-resident" has the ability to consent.  Unfortunately, this is a highly complicated area of constitutional law that requires a more in-depth analysis of the facts to determine whether the entry was legal.  For example, was the resident present and did he/she actively voice his/her objection to the entry, etc.?  In light of the fact that there may be a valid suppression argument here, I suggest that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss this matter in greater detail and determine the strength of this -- and any other -- defenses.  Good luck.


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