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Criminal & DUI Lawyers, including:
Three Former Crown Prosecutors

Consenting to Police Entering Your Home

I want to talk to you a little bit today about consenting to police entering your home or doing an investigation at your home.  I’ll give you an example. You are at a bar and you’re there for say a couple hours and you had one beer and you drive home and an hour later the police show up at your home and you’ve had four beers while you are at home.  So you are drinking after the fact. Now at this point you may be over the legal limit. So the police knock on your door. Do you have to let them in? That’s the question. What are your rights in this situation? The police don’t have a warrant.  They’ve had some report that you’ve been drinking at the bar and you drove home and they show up at your home to see if you have alcohol on your breath or to see if they are going to give you a roadside sample potentially with the alco test.

So you see the police at your door.  Your rights are this. You do not have to.  It’s your choice, not anyone else’s choice but you do not have to open the door.  The police cannot get in your home without a warrant and that’s the end of the matter.  So it’s completely your choice. What do you think is going to happen if you open the door?  They are going to smell alcohol, potentially give you a roadside breath test. Whether they smell alcohol or not they can do that out of the new law so that becomes problematic.  Under the same scenario let’s say the police show up at your home and they want to search your home. They don’t have a search warrant. That’s unreasonable under section 8 of the Charter and it’s your choice if you would like them to search your home because you know that they’re looking for something at your home obviously.  That’s your choice. So you can either a) consent to the search, or b) say no.

So the bottom line is the police have an implied consent to walk up your driveway, knock on the door and it’s your choice what you want to do from that point as to whether you want to talk to them, let them in or leave the door shut.  It’s completely up to you under the situation you’re in. Of course there are exceptions to this. One of the exceptions is called “hot pursuit” and this is where the police see you committing a crime and perhaps run into your house. So they are in hot pursuit and in that situation and arguable they would be able to enter your house and arrest you for that particular crime.  So there is a very simplified nutshell of consent, implied consent and the law with respect to hot pursuit. 

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