What to Do if the Cops Come to a Party: 5 Things to Do When the Cops Come to Your Party

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

You are having a good time with your friends and then ‘knock knock’, it is the police. Do not panic! There are a couple of things you need to know about the police and parties. We will be giving you tips on how to deal with cops under the following headings

  • Why would the police come to your party
  • What to do when the cops come to your party


Cops show up at parties when there is a report about an ongoing activity that disturbs, raises suspicion and that needs to be addressed. It is their duty to show up when there is an official complaint and/or when they suspect an illegal activity going on. Some activities that will get your party busted;


It is illegal for persons under the age of 21 to purchase, consume, or be in possession of alcohol. This is a criminal offense and persons found guilty of this offense are liable to criminal charges. This is why bars and clubs usually ask for identification before they permit certain people to enter. This is equally why shops refuse to sell alcohol to minors. So if your party has underage drinkers and the police find out, your party will get busted.

Some states have gone as far as putting strict laws for open house parties. These laws are expected to restrict minors from possessing alcohol or indulging in its use, even with parental supervision. In Florida and Alabama for example, it is expected that a person who hosts a party ensures that minors do not take alcohol, or else they could be liable to more than a month jail term or equivalent fines.

Thankfully, according to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the number of underage drinkers represents less than 20% of the entire age group population in the United States and their numbers keep decreasing.

The current report shows a decline in underage drinking in 2019 among 8th – 10th graders. Source: responsibility.org

The current report shows a decline in underage drinking in 2019 among 8th - 10th graders

Check how to throw a teenage party without alcohol


With regard to smoking, It is also illegal for persons under the age of 18 to purchase or consume cigarettes. Any retail store or shop that is caught selling cigarettes or tobacco to minors will face legal penalties. In addition, minor offenders are liable to pay fines if caught in possession of cigarettes or tobacco or caught smoking. It is important to note that each state has its own laws and penalties. Try to check what your state law says too. If your party has underage smokers, chances are that it could get busted too.


If there are drugs in your party and the police get alerted, you and some of your guests might be spending a long time in jail. It is unlawful to be in possession of controlled drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and their likes. It is also unlawful to be under its influence in public places. This restriction is not age-dependent. Possession of drugs without the intent to sell carries a penalty of up to a year jail term or a fine of at least $1000 under the Federal law. This penalty differs from state to state. A person with a larger quantity of smaller-sized drugs with intent to sell is liable to heavier charges depending on the quantity of drug and type.

In 2018, four-in-ten US drug arrests were for possession, sale, or manufacture of marijuana. Source: pewresearch.org

In 2018, four-in-ten US drug arrests were for possession, sale, or manufacture of marijuana. Source pewresearch.org


Most times when cops show up at a house party, it is because of noise. This usually happens at house parties, when it is crowded such that some of the guests are outside and noisy. This could be frightening for some neighbors and bothersome too if the time is late.

Every state has noise ordinances that limit noise levels at different times of the day and different locations too. While you cannot be stopped from playing music at your party or hosting a party in your house, however, if your neighbors think that you and your guest are noisy which is discomforting or bothersome to them, they have every right to alert local authorities, who then visits the area to access the noise level and if they agree that the noise coming from your party is unreasonably loud, they will knock at your door to alert you. If after the authorities have made you aware of the situation and the noise persists, then you and maybe your guest (if the situation escalates) will be in trouble with the local authorities. Find more information about noise ordinances on knieticsnoise.com


If a fight breaks out at your party or any form of violence, your party might get busted by the po po. Fighting in a public place, for example, is considered a breach of the peace which is a criminal offense. So yes, the police will show up at a party when there is an act of violence towards an individual or group of people; when the act of violence is capable of destroying other people’s properties, and when it is in breach of people’s peace. Example of these acts of violence are;

  • Fighting or challenging someone to a fight in a public place
  • Bullying
  • Using offensive words in public places to incite violence
  • Holding unlawful gathering in a public place

Depending on state laws, a person or people found guilty of these acts, including accomplices, may be liable to jail terms, fines, or equivalent penalties.

In summary, if any of the above-listed activities –underage drinking, smoking, drug deals, noisy party, or violence– occur at the party you are at and the police are alerted by victims, observers, or neighbors, they will show up at the party.


When the police show up at your party, here are a couple of things you should do to help the situation;


  • Get everyone to calm down and turn off the music. Do not shout at your guest or act harshly towards them while getting them to be calm.
  • Get the door as quickly as you can. The more time the police spend waiting for someone to get the door, the more suspicious they get and this is not good.
  • If you are drunk and underage, do not get the door because you will most likely get into trouble. It is best to alert the property owner to answer the police and if they are not close by, get a sober family member or friend to get the door.
  • If you have drunk friends that will get you in trouble, take them into another room.


You do not have to let the police into your house if you don’t want to. Open the door, go outside and close the door behind you. By doing so, you are letting them know that you do not consent to them entering your house unless they have a warrant or you’ve granted them permission to do so.

If the door is already open and the police are inside, still get everyone to calm down, turn off the music and go and speak to them. You can politely lead them outside to continue the discussion. This is to make them aware that you did not grant them permission to enter your house. However, the probability of you and your guest getting into trouble in this sort of scenario is high if you are breaking the law.


It’s easy for a person to panic and get all defensive when the police show up. Panicking can mess up a simple conversation. Some people go as far as shoving the ‘i know my right’ statement to the police faces coupled with insults. This does not help the situation.

  • Be calm, greet politely, and act like you do not know why they are there. Ask them if there is any problem and give them a chance to speak.
  • Do not go into lengthy conversations with the police for two main reasons, firstly, you don’t want to encourage them to keep asking you questions and secondly, anything you say can be used against you. It is best to answer their questions plainly and calmly. Straight to the point.
  • You can also go with a friend to observe your conversation with the police.


In the event they ask you to let them in,

  • Make it clear to them that you do not want them inside your house.
  • If they insist, be firm and ask for a warrant.
  • If they do not have their name tags on their uniforms, you could politely ask for it and their work station. They should not hesitate to confirm their identity.
  • Do not get into any messy arguments with the police if they keep insisting on going in. Let them in but say it out loud and clear to the hearing of others that you do not consent to them entering your house.


When the police enter your house and find incriminating evidence

  • Silence is golden. Do not admit to anything. Do not incriminate yourself.
  • Do not agree to a breathalyzer. They have no right to force you to take a breathalyzer and do not get tricked into taking one.
  • If you must speak, ask for a lawyer
  • Avoid getting into arguments or harsh confrontations with the police. Remain calm and be firm on your right.


  • What happens if you don’t answer the door for cops?

When the cops knock, you are not obligated to open the door or speak to the police, especially if they are not armed with a warrant. However, there are situations that allow cops access into your house without a warrant.  If they have probable cause and secondly, if there are exigent circumstances. The smell of marijuana is an example of probable cause while exigent circumstances are like a case of an emergency. For example, if someone is in danger or if getting a warrant will compromise getting evidence, then they may have to force their way in.

  • Why do the cops come to your home?

There are various reasons why the cop will come to your house. If you are hosting a party at your house, the most likely reason why the cops will visit your party is as a result of noise. If your neighbors feel like your party is noisy, they could report to the police who then informs you about your disturbance. Other reasons that will attract cops to your party are; underage drinking, smoking, fighting, and drugs.


If the cops ever show up at the party you are hosting or attending, do not panic. It is important to know your right and be firm about it. Some of the things that attract cops to a party are, the use of drugs, underage guests indulging in alcohol, fights, or different forms of violence, underage smokers, and excessive noise. In the event that cops show up, be calm, and respond to them politely if they ask you questions. Be brief in your answer. Avoid lengthy conversations that could implicate you or your friends. Do not be pressured into taking a breathalyzer and if you feel like you are in trouble, ask for a lawyer. We hope that you find these tips helpful.





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