It’s Friday night after a grueling work week, and the kids have finally drifted off to dreamland after only three requests for water and re-tucks under the covers. You and your spouse are chilling on the couch watching Netflix and sipping on a couple of cold ones.
You are also taking the occasional hit of kind bud from that QP you managed to score last night. Suddenly, the doorbell rings, disturbing the oasis of peace and quiet in your home.
First, know your rights! Even in states like Oklahoma where selling cannabis and cannabis products is legal, your relationship with the law can be a little tricky especially if you travel to nearby states with what may be legal back at home.
When it’s not Avon calling
A quick glance through the peephole reveals your uninvited guests to be the boys in blue. Through the door, they loudly state, “This is the police. We need to talk to you. Open the door!”
What to do, what to do? If you are like most civilians, your contact with the police has been infrequent — and may likely have been unwelcome. While there are a few options available to you in this hypothetical scenario, there is one certain thing that you should never, ever do: Allow the cops inside your home. Fortunately, because of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution that prohibits warrantless and unreasonable searches and seizures, you don’t have to.
Some people will protest that if they haven’t done anything wrong, they don’t need to worry. But this is a slippery slope to head down. Even if you didn’t have a quarter-pound of weed stashed in your bedroom closet, how can you be sure that a cop won’t plant something in your home and then “discover” it? Even if that doesn’t occur, are you 100 percent certain that you have no contraband in your house? What about that funky pipe you picked up on your Jamaican honeymoon that still has some residue in it and is right on the mantel next to your bust of Bob Marley? Uh-oh — busted!
Better options await you
When the cops are on the other side, you can talk through the sturdy, closed door. You may even decide to step outside, firmly closing your door behind you. Some criminal defense attorneys recommend locking it behind you as well. It’s better to bug the landlord for the extra key if you wind up locked-out than to have to scrape up bail money.
But you also have a third option, which is simply to do nothing. Don’t respond, don’t engage. Continue binge-watching Game of Thrones and drinking your beer. It’s probably a good idea to refrain from smoking any more of that marijuana right now, however. You don’t want to give the police probable cause for a drug arrest.
When the situation deteriorates
It’s important to understand that all of the above applies only when the cops have no warrant to search your home. If they do come with a warrant, you don’t have many options available to you at that juncture. You can do it the easy way or the hard way, i.e., being chased down and potentially beaten within an inch of your life by the police while other cops are busy tossing your place anyway.
In the latter case, it’s better to quickly dial your criminal defense attorney and inform them of the situation. Then, let the police inside to do what they’re going to do anyway. Other than that, make no admissions and answer no questions. Preserve your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and ask to speak with your attorney.