Am I Being Detained? 6 Questions You Should Ask During Interactions With the Police
October 12, 2022 | Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law
Being stopped by a police officer can be intimidating. Some people might be frightened they will be arrested, even though they did nothing unlawful. Because an interaction with a police officer could result in an arrest, you should treat each encounter seriously.
Understanding your legal rights and knowing what to say if the police stop you helps protect yourself. First, try to remain calm. Panicking prevents you from thinking clearly and could make you appear suspicious.
Never resist arrest or run from police officers. Doing so could escalate a situation into a dangerous encounter. Instead, be respectful and remember to ask the police officer these six questions:
1. Are You Detaining Me?
Always ask law enforcement officers if you are being detained. If not, you are free to leave. However, before leaving, follow up with the officer to confirm you are not being detained by asking if you are free to leave.
If you do not ask if you are being detained and can leave, the officer might use the opportunity to gather additional information from you. That information could give the officer probable cause to arrest you. Therefore, it is best to limit conversations with police officers whenever possible.
2. Why Am I Being Detained?
If the officer confirms that you are being detained, you cannot leave until the officer tells you that you are free to go. Officers detain individuals when they have a reasonable suspicion that the person committed a crime. The officer is attempting to gather enough information for an arrest.
You have the right to remain silent when law enforcement officers detain you. Even if the officer does not read you the Miranda Rights, you need to remain silent. Politely inform the officer that you are exercising your right to remain silent.
Trying to argue or explain your side of the story to get out of a situation does not help. Instead, most people talk enough to give the officer probable cause for an arrest. The officer will arrest you if they believes you committed a crime, whether you talk or remain silent.
3. How Long Will I Be Detained?
Police officers should not detain people for an unreasonable period of time without justification. Do not expect the officer to answer this question. However, remember the response so you can tell your San Jose criminal defense lawyer.
4. Do You Have an Arrest Warrant, and What Are the Charges?
If officers arrest you, ask why you are being arrested. Then, after asking the officer to tell you the charge, stop talking. The only other statement you should make is to ask for a criminal defense attorney.
5. Do You Have a Search Warrant?
If a police officer asks you if they can search you, your vehicle, or your home, ask the officer if they have a search warrant. A police officer can pat you down if they believe you could have a dangerous weapon.
Do not consent to searches by law enforcement officers. Officers might conduct searches even if they do not have a warrant. Do not fight or resist because that could create a dangerous situation.
Instead, watch and listen to everything the officers do and say. You want to give your lawyer as many details about the search as possible. Then, your lawyer can file a motion to suppress evidence discovered during an illegal search and seizure.
6. When Can I Speak to a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
You have the right to legal counsel and to have a lawyer present during questioning. Police officers might taunt you and tell you that asking for an attorney makes you appear guilty. The officers might tell you they can help you if you are honest with them and tell them what happened.
Police officers lie. Do not fall for their tactics. You need to exercise your rights during all encounters with law enforcement officers.
Hiring a San Jose criminal defense attorney does not make you look guilty. It means that you understand you need legal advice to defend yourself against criminal charges.
A lawyer investigates why you were arrested. They analyze the evidence the police and prosecution have against you while gathering evidence to build a strong defense against the charges.
Do not plead guilty or accept a plea deal without legal counsel. The state’s case might not be as solid as the prosecutor claims. A skilled defense lawyer might be able to have the charges dismissed or negotiate a plea bargain that includes reduced charges and a lighter sentence.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law Today For Help.
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