An informative video from the activist group, Flex Your Rights, describes how you should react and what you should know when cops come a knocking.
Keep in mind that while certain laws and police practices vary from state-to-state, our information applies to practices that apply in all 50 states.
College students suffer from an unfortunate lack of privacy rights in many situations. Dorms are the property of the university, thus school officials and campus police tend to feel a sense of entitlement with regards to entering student housing. Nevertheless, knowing and asserting your rights can help protect you on campus just as it would anywhere else.
As a general rule, police can obtain consent to search from anyone with control over the property. Someone who has a key, or whose name appears on the lease, can legally consent to a search of the property if no one else is present, or if no one else objects. If you rent the property, be advised that your landlord can also let the police in.
In other instances, an officer might want to investigate activities taking place in your home and ask to enter. You might even be a suspect in a criminal investigation. In such a case you should remain silent — except to say “Officer, I can’t let you inside without a search warrant.” Following such an encounter, you should immediately contact a lawyer before speaking to police again.
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