Can Police Come On Your Property Without Permission?

Police Come On Your Property Without Permission

There are so many questions people often have regarding law enforcement. Generally, the subject of what is lawful or not, is topical in most places. There are obviously intricacies due to how laws vary from place to place. There is also the dynamic of the extent to which laws are enforced in a place. The extent to which people know the law also varies greatly from person to person. That is why even with someone knowing the law they can infringe on one who does not. Today let us delve into the question of, can police come on your property without permission?

Extent Of What Is Deemed Your Right To Privacy On Your Property

It is important that you understand the dynamics of privacy when you own a property. You are by law entitled to a certain degree of privacy; essentially your right to privacy. Some mistake it to only refer to indoors, no. Your right to privacy extends to every part or space considered an extension of your property.

This means that a police officer cannot just waltz onto your yard and do as they wish. All in all, you must appreciate that your property is not just the building alone. All indoor and outdoor spaces that are part of or extensions constitute your property. This also applies to items that are on the property.

Fourth Amendment Comes In

According to the fourth amendment you cannot be unreasonably searched or seized; this applies to properties and items in or on them. Police cannot just come on your property without express written permission from a judge. It is important to know where the basis of your right to privacy on your property comes from. It comes from the Fourth Amendment.

The first thing we must look at is the direct question of, can police come on your property without permission?

Yes But It Depends

Under normal circumstances, the police cannot just come on your property without permission. By law, the police must have a warrant to come onto your property. Without it you can refuse to allow them entry.

Grounds For A Warrant

Just a side note, let us briefly look at what a warrant (or search warrant) is. A warrant is simply an authorization or certification; a sanction given by a superior (in this case a judge). There are several grounds that can allow the granting of a search warrant. Examples are the property being stolen, being used in criminal activity, or ownership of the property constituting a crime, amongst others. You must also know that a search warrant can be challenged in court if need be.

However, there are scenarios in which it becomes permissible for police to come on your property without permission. So, yes police can come on your property without permission. Only when necessitated by certain scenarios though. What is important is for you to know what those scenarios are. Let us look into some of them.

Police In Pursuit Of A Suspect, Person Of Interest, Or Criminal

It happens at times that police can be in pursuit of someone. It is not surprising to find that person taking cover in a random house or yard. Of which that random property could be yours. At times they could use your property as a passage of escape. In such scenarios the police can come onto your property without permission. Bear in mind that this also applies to when you are the person being pursued and you take cover on your property.

Making Lawful Arrests

If the police have to come on your property to make a lawful arrest, they do not need permission. They can even conduct searches without any permission. This is because they have the right to search for any more evidence. Plus they also have to ensure they are safe.

Reasonable Grounds Apply A Lot

There are countless times in which it can be okay for police to come on your property without permission. For example, if they receive a 911 call about something pertaining to your property. They are allowed to investigate the 911 call without your express permission. There is also the issue of plain view – quite common. If police spot anything suspicious on your property they can come over or enter without permission.

This can also span to when the police have solid reasons to believe someone on the property is in serious danger. This can be with regards to injuries or fatalities. If your property is tied to time-sensitive evidence pertaining to a case, the police could also enter without permission. Overall, reasonable grounds often stem from exigent circumstances. If there is anything on your property that requires immediate or urgent attention, police can enter without permission.

Thin Distinction Line At Times (But Comply)

Ordinarily, if there is no urgency, police should obtain a warrant first. Without it they do not necessarily have the right to just come onto your property. You could of course grant them permission even if they do not have a warrant. This must happen without any duress or manipulation by the police. What override all of these dynamics though are the exigent circumstances.

Considering circumstances exigent can somehow be a subject of debate. As a property owner, what you consider non-urgent may be urgent in the eyes of the police officer. At times the distinction is thin or blurry but it is usually best to not obstruct. If the police feel there is need for urgent intervention better let them in despite not having prior permission.


Can police come on your property without permission? The answer is yes and no. Typically it is no due to the tenets of the Fourth Amendment. Yes, if there are reasonable grounds for the police to so. Know and appreciate such reasonable grounds. It is essential for you to grasp the distinctions and nuances. That way you will not be stunned when police come on your property without permission.