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Colorado trial attorneys

What to do when the police come knocking

On behalf of Dolan + Zimmerman LLP May 16, 2019

It’s a Friday night. You’re sitting at home, watching TV. Suddenly, there’s a knock at the door. You look out the peep hole. It’s a police officer. What in the world does he want? Why is he even at your home?

Police in Colorado are known for doing the “knock and talk.” This is when an officer just goes to a person’s house, knocks on the door and tries to start an informal conversation, just to see what type of information they can get. Many times, the person opening the door doesn’t even realize they are a suspect, or what their legal rights are.

Do you have to talk to police?

No. If an officer knocks on your door and wants to start asking you questions, you can politely decline. While it may feel like you are being rude, it’s better to let the officer be slightly put off than to accidentally incriminate yourself.

All too often, people think that by answering police questions they are showing they have nothing to hide. However, this is not true. You could be saying things that will later be used against you, without even realizing it. It’s better to play it safe and just refuse to answer any police questions without an attorney present.

Can a knock and talk turn into an arrest?

Absolutely. Just look at the recent case where a Colorado couple were arrested on felony cultivation and distribution charges. This stemmed from a knock and talk.

What if an officer threatens to get a warrant or to immediately arrest you?

The officer may become annoyed when you refuse to answer questions. However, do not let this intimidate you. Your legal rights are your constitutional rights. You still do not need to say anything, and you still should not say anything.

If the officer threatens to get a warrant to search or arrest you if you don’t answer questions, tell them that is fine. This will give you time to call your attorney. If the officer threatens to arrest you immediately if you do not answer questions, continue to politely tell them that you are not going to answer their questions. They may get an arrest warrant and arrest you later; they may arrest you immediately. Either way, providing police officers with information is highly unlikely to improve your situation.

If police are at the point where they are showing up at your home to ask you questions, it is likely that they suspect you of some sort of criminal involvement. Even if the officer tells you to have a nice evening and leaves, do not think the situation is going to go away. Rather, it is probably just beginning. You should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney so that you can determine what you should do to protect yourself.