Can The Police Enter Your House Without Permission In Victoria?

Can The Police Enter Your House Without Permission In Victoria?In general, the police cannot enter a home in Victoria without permission, a warrant, or in situations where safety is at issue. While it may feel like you need to provide the police with permission to enter your home if they ask, that is actually not the case. You can say no if police ask to enter your home without a warrant. There are also a few other exceptions to this general rule that we will cover here as well.

Are The Police Allowed To Enter Your House?

Police can enter a home if they are invited in. If you invite them in, they can do a visual search of their surroundings in most situations. The police might also ask to come inside to search. If you give them permission, then they can search whatever you have provided permission to search.

If the police appear at your home without a warrant, it is important to be very clear that you do not want them to enter your property if that is the case. It is often simply polite to invite guests in, but you are not required to invite police in. If they want to speak with you, consider stepping outside to talk to them. If you are uncomfortable, ask to call your lawyer before talking with them.

When Can Police Enter Your House?

Police can enter your home in Victoria under five general circumstances. It's recommended to consult with Melbourne criminal lawyers to fully understand the intricacies of these situations as they apply to your specific case

1.    If You Give Them Consent

The Victoria Police Act 2013 provides that police can enter a home with consent if they believe that a person is committing or has committed a serious offence. They can also search the premises and take anything they consider connected to the alleged offence.

To obtain consent, the officer must produce their official identification. They must also specifically tell you the purpose of the search. The police are also supposed to give you a general listing of your rights related to the search, including:

  •         That you can refuse to provide consent
  •         That you can refuse to provide consent to the taking of samples or documents
  •         That anything the police find can be used against you in court

In fact, the police must also ask you to sign an acknowledgment that you are consenting to the search, making it much more difficult to be “tricked into consent.” However, misunderstanding providing consent or not realizing that you have provided consent can still happen from time to time. It’s crucial to be aware of your rights since any evidence found could lead not only to charged by the police but also to a criminal record if convicted. Understanding your rights goes beyond just home entry. For example, are you aware of whether the police can track your phone in Victoria?

2.    If They Have A Warrant

Police can enter your home if they have a warrant. To carry out a warrant, the police must specifically state that they have a warrant and provide you with a copy of the warrant.

In general, there are two types of warrants that might allow the police to enter your home.

Arrest warrant: The police can enter a private residence if they intend to arrest someone who is expected to be at that location. That person does not even have to live in the home—they are just expected to be there. They can also do a search as part of the arrest, but only to search for a specific person unless they also have a search warrant.

Search warrant: A search warrant allows the police to enter a residence when they reasonably believe that there is evidence within a location of a specific offense.

3.    To Locate Someone Suspected Of A Serious Crime

If police believe that someone who has committed a crime is in your home, they may be able to enter the residence to pursue that person, even without a warrant. However, they’re only allowed to do this if the crime that was allegedly committed is a serious indictable offense, which means that the penalty involves a prison term of five years or more.

They can also pursue the person if the suspect is attempting to escape custody as well. Under these circumstances, the police may be able to use reasonable force to follow a suspect and enter the premises.

4.    Family Violence

A police officer may be able to enter your home if they believe that family violence is occurring or has recently occurred. They can also enter if they believe someone in the home has violated an intervention order or family violence safety notice.

5.    Breach Of The Peace

A breach of the peace usually deals with violence or noise. Police can enter a home without a warrant if they are attempting to address a breach of the peace, such as breaking up a fight or dealing with loud noises.

Can Police Enter Without A Warrant?

Police can enter a private residence without a warrant if they are:

  •         Following or locating a dangerous suspect
  •         Addressing family violence
  •         Addressing a breach of the peace, like loud noise or fighting

Police can also enter your home if they have your informed consent, as discussed previously.

Conclusion

Your private residence should be your sanctuary, which is why it has extra protections under the law. However, police can still enter your home under certain circumstances, such as if they have a warrant, they have your consent, or they are addressing a dangerous situation. Learn more about your rights to keep police out of your home by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Victoria.

Resources And Further Reading

  1. https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/in-force/acts/victoria-police-act-2013/031
  2. https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/in-force/acts/crimes-act-1958/292
  3. https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/in-force/acts/magistrates-court-act-1989/223
  4. https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/getting-searched
  5. https://mga.monash.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/vla-resource-police-powers_0.pdf
  6. https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/in-force/acts/family-violence-protection-act-2008/053
June Duncan

June Duncan

June has been writing about legal matters for law firms for over a decade. She is a licensed lawyer and currently practices law full-time. She writes in her spare time because she enjoys helping others decode the complexities of legal jargon so they can understand and assert their legal rights.

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