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Understanding knock-and-talk

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2019 | Uncategorized

You do not have to talk to the police in Michigan, generally speaking. While there are some exceptions, such as providing ID or asking if you are free to go, you do not typically have to have any interaction with state or federal investigators without a lawyer present. This is especially true if you have been arrested.

Additionally, you may want to close your blinds or window shades if you suspect that the police may come by your home. Although advocates for civil liberties have opposed the practice, police have the power to walk around the outside of your house without a warrant during a knock-and-talk conversation, looking through your windows for evidence of criminal behavior.

What is a knock-and-talk?

A knock-and-talk is an investigation technique that would involve a police officer or group of officers visiting your home to have a conversation. It is typically fine to:

  • Not allow the police into your home
  • Not have any detailed conversation
  • Not answer any questions

The police have no obligation to tell you the real reason they are at your doorstep. It is likely that they are there to perform some sort of investigation. The information they collect could, at some point, implicate you in a crime.

When is a knock-and-talk legal?

Please have a broad range of privileges when it comes to investigating potential crimes. However, the Michigan Supreme Court recently ruled the knock-and-talk procedure unconstitutional if it is performed in the middle of the night. 

Your civil liberties are important. You would probably want to exercise them to their fullest extent during any interaction you might have with the Michigan or Grand Rapids police. 

It is not enough to simply know that you have the right to remain silent. To make the right decision, you would also have to understand all of the case law from the relevant state and federal courts that affects that right. If you lack this knowledge, it would probably be best to request the advice of someone who has it.

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