When confronted by police, people often become nervous because they are unsure if they may be in violation of some ordinance or law. The difference between merely being detained by police and arrested creates different limitations to your rights. It is important to understand what you can do. Police may stop you, and it is not considered an arrest if you are just briefly detained.
A detainment occurs when an officer stops and questions a person of interest, generally for a shorter period of time, and requires less than “probable cause” to make a detainment. An officer can detain anyone if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that the person committed or was involved in any criminal activity.
In the event you are stopped for questioning, it is important to remain calm, be polite, keep your hands visible at all times, and do not attempt to flee. You do have the right to remain silent, however, it is best to identify yourself first and then notify the officer that you are exercising your right to silence.
If you are unsure of the situation, you can ask the officer why you have been detained and if you are under arrest. If at that time you are not under arrest, you have the right to leave. If the officer proceeds to arrest you, you have the right to speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney.
An arrest occurs only upon a determination of “probable cause”, this means the officer must have more than just a “suspicion”, the officer must have a “reasonable belief” that you committed a crime. Once the arrest is made, an officer can lawfully conduct a search incident to arrest of your person for weapons, evidence, and contraband. At this point, the officer can hold you in jail for up to 24 hours or until a warrant is issued for the charges.
Anytime you are stopped and arrested it is important to quickly consult a Criminal Attorney regarding your rights and advice on what you should do. If you have been arrested for a criminal offense, or even issued a citation for a traffic violation, call Blick Law Firm today at (813) 931-0840 to schedule an appointment for a free 15 minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer. Think quick, call Blick!