If you are suspected of a drug-related crime, at some point you might face the situation of having the police hammering on your door. That is a frightening thing to contemplate regardless of your innocence or alleged guilt.

We’ve all heard and read stories of innocent Americans whose encounters with the police end fatally for the citizens. Sometimes, the police break down the doors of the wrong houses and wind up shooting the occupants. Other times, they are at the right address but lack one very important thing — a valid search warrant.

How can these things happen?

It’s been argued that the cops wouldn’t show up at someone’s door unless the residents were involved in some illegal activities. But that is simply not the case, as mistakes happen all the time. Perhaps the suspect was a previous resident at the address in question or there was a typo on the warrant that led them to your home.

Regardless of the reason, there are many examples of mistaken identity that wound up with residents of the home bleeding from gunshot wounds.

Do you know what to do when the police are at your door?

First and foremost, determine whether they have a warrant. Most importantly, read it to make sure that it is valid and is for you and your home.

But there is a caveat. Never open the door to police before ascertaining that they do, indeed, have the right to search your premises. Reading the warrant should clarify that for you. The police officers can either slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to the window for you to read.

Exercise your Miranda rights

If the warrant is correct, the police have the right to search your home and take you into custody. But, you also have rights in this matter. Namely, you have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.

Even before the officer reads your Miranda rights to you, play it smart and don’t volunteer information or answer any of their questions until you have first spoken to your Fort Bend County criminal defense attorney.