Your first experience with a police officer at your door may be them asking to come inside. You can give them your consent if you’d like, but you don’t have to. If they still want to come in without your consent, then they generally need to get a warrant from a judge that gives them permission.
But what if the police come into your home anyway? They don’t have a warrant, there’s not an emergency situation, and there’s no other reason for them to be there. But they are just so convinced that they’re going to find evidence that they push their way in against your protests and begin searching your home. How does this change a potential case?
The fruit of the poisonous tree
This can create a lot of problems because the police are violating your rights and conducting an illegal search. One way to approach this is by considering the fruit of the poisonous tree. This legal doctrine simply states that evidence has to be obtained legally and that evidence gathered after illegal activity may not be permissible in court.
For example, perhaps the police thought that you had illegal drugs in the house, and they were right. The officers found them in a back closet. If they’d had a warrant to go in and look for that evidence, they may consider it a slam dunk case where they will easily convict you. But since they didn’t have a warrant, that means the evidence they gathered in your house may have to be excluded from the case. Without evidence that they found those drugs in your home, they have no way to convict you.
This is just one example of mistakes that officers make when dealing with evidence, and it shows how big of an impact it can have in your case. Be sure you understand all of your legal options.