Advertisement

Do I have to let police into my home in Kansas and Missouri — even without a warrant?

A knock on your door can mean anything from a package delivery to an unexpected visit.

But when that visit comes from law enforcement, do you have to open the door or let officers inside your home?

The answer depends on whether they have a warrant signed by a judge, as well as their suspicion that a crime is being committed.

Here’s what Kansas, Missouri and local laws say about when you have to let police enter your home.

What should I do if police knock, but don’t have a warrant?

According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, you are not required to let law enforcement enter your home if they do not have a warrant. You also are not required to open your door — if officials say they have a warrant, you can ask them to slide it under the door or hold it up to a window.

The ACLU of Kansas also says law enforcement officers can generally search your home only if they have a warrant or your consent.

There are three types of warrants that officials may present at a private home:

Search warrant: A search warrant grants permission to search a private place for something specific. Under Missouri law, this warrant must be signed by a judge, describe the item being searched for and its location, state the date and time it was issued and be executed within 10 days.

In Kansas, the warrant must be executed within four days.

Arrest warrant: Police can only enter your home if they have a warrant for your arrest and suspect you are inside your home. In Missouri, they cannot enter your home to arrest someone else without your consent, except in emergency situations.

In Kansas, police are also allowed to search your home without a warrant if you are on parole.

Warrant of removal: Also called a deportation warrant, this document can be issued by immigration officials to remove someone from the country. However, this type of warrant does not grant officials access to private residences. If you are presented with one, you do not need to allow law enforcement entry into your home.

Administrative warrant: In Missouri, this document allows law enforcement to search buildings where records are kept or where materials are created or stored — especially controlled substances. However, this warrant generally isn’t used to enter private homes.

In Kansas, it is considered a type of search warrant.

Are police required to knock if they have a warrant?

Entering a home with a warrant without announcing oneself first is known as enacting a “no-knock warrant.”

No-knock warrants are allowed only in “emergency situations” in both Missouri and Kansas. However, the exact definition of an “emergency situation” can be up to the discretion of law enforcement officers.

The practice gained national attention after Louisville, Kentucky police performed one on the home of 26 year old Breonna Taylor in 2020, killing her. The officers later faced federal charges.

In 2022, a Missouri bill attempted to limit the scope of no-knock warrants, and a Kansas bill attempted to ban them altogether — but both measures failed.

St. Louis is the only city in Missouri that has banned the practice entirely. Mayor Tishaura Jones signed an executive order last year outlawing no-knock warrants for all offenses.

Do you have more questions about criminal justice in Missouri or Kansas? Ask the Service Journalism team at kcq@kcstar.com.