When you answered the doorbell, you were surprised to see the police. The officer said he had a few questions and wanted to know if he could come in. The officer did not have a search warrant. Do you have a right to refuse?

Generally, the answer is yes. While police have the same right to “knock and talk” as a private citizen, what happens after that can be somewhat different. “Knock and talk,” allows police to investigate or ask for consent to search your home. Police cannot use “knock and talk” to raid your home, show force or make demands upon you. Once you tell police you do not wish to talk or let them in, the encounter should end.

When refusing entry to your home, you should say as little as possible. Do not try to argue about your rights. Be polite and the to the point.

If the encounter does not end and police discover evidence of a crime, you should consult an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the evidence based on the illegal search.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

See People v Kofron.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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