Police officer standing in front of a white door and knocking“The Cops Are Here!” The panic sets in as you quickly assess what possibly could have promoted the police being called. A noise? A neighbor? Your kids? Then, you run out of time…

(Knock, Knock)

“Police Department.”

The next question you should be asking yourself is “should I answer the door?


The best legal advice is still to avoid all unnecessary contact with law enforcement – that includes not offering yourself up for “avoidable-incrimination,” or even to allow the situation to escalate beyond its purpose. The best part of opting-out of unnecessary talks with police is you don’t need to answer the door to tell them “no thanks.” Instead, no response works just fine. If the police have a legal reason to contact you, they know how to go about doing so.

Yet, it’s easier said than done when you’re the one separated by mere inches of wood between the night-you-were-just-having, and one that could end with you sleeping the rest of the night in jail.

So, here’s 3 steps for responding to police at your door:

 1-2-3, When Police Knock For Me:

1) Wait? Give yourself a minute to put a shirt on if needed.  Before opening the door, ask the nature of the police visit. If the police have a warrant, then they’ll likely make that fact known before bursting through the door. If they don’t, then there’s no harm in delaying the encounter until after you’ve called your lawyer.

2) Warrant? If the police tell you they have a warrant for the house or people in it, open the door and ask to receive a copy of the warrant. At very least, confirm the warrant has the correct address and/or people included.

3) Welcome? If you’ve called the police yourself, obviously open the door – but not before confirming the name of the police department and the nature of their visit. Remember that contact with police typically comes in three forms: victim, witness, or suspect.

4) Worried? If you’ve been drinking, using marijuana, or taking any other prescribed or non-prescribed controlled substances (especially those which affect speech, attention, and fine motor skills): YOU don’t open the door! Someone else can (or not), just make sure they too follow the 3 Pro-Tips! If you’re alone or your guests prefer not to open the door, call a lawyer; leave a detailed message if no answer. Then, after following the 1-2-3, and determining the police department and nature of their visit being one that is not accompanied by a warrant, you don’t open the door unless your lawyer tells you otherwise. If you’re still waiting on an answer from your lawyer, you don’t yet have a reason to open the door. Instead, Call Kelly and let us take care of the rest!

 PRO-TIP: When deciding whether or not to speak with police, remember the golden rule: avoid unnecessary contact with law enforcement. If the police don’t have a warrant, then their questions should be directed to your attorney.

As a criminal defense attorney, it’s my job to talk to the police – not yours. Follow the 1-2-3 and when you need the right person to step up and answer the knock for you, #CallKelly!

Young male criminal defense attorney wearing a blue suit and tie posing for a headshot photo

Michael B. Kelly
Kelly & Kelly, P.C.
422 E. Main Street
Northville, Michigan 48167
(248) 348-0496