For those who have been charged with a crime, it can be nearly impossible to know when the police have made a mistake during an arrest or in their subsequent actions. Whether you have been charged with something as simple as speeding or as complex as possession with intent to deliver, it can be difficult to know what your rights are and what the police have to do.
Here is a brief guide on what the police can do and, perhaps even more importantly, what they cannot do during an arrest.
What To Do If The Police Stop You
A traffic stop will be most people’s first experience with the police. It is important to know that you are never under a legal obligation to talk to the police or answer their questions. You are legally obligated to produce identification documents (state-issued IDs, driver’s license, other documents) if you are stopped. You may also need to show registration.
Other than that, you are not legally obligated to do anything else if you have not given the police probable cause.
Lack Of Probable Cause Is The #1 Mistake Police Make
Too often, a violation of your rights is made when police stop, search, and arrest you without probable cause. There needs to be a reason to stop you. This can be almost anything, but it has to be a strong suspicion or presence of facts that you have committed a crime. Police cannot stop you just because you look suspicious.
Essentially, this means that there need to be hard facts that you were or are engaging in a crime. For possession with intent to deliver offenses, this could mean that you were speeding or ran a red light and then they saw paraphernalia in the back of your car when the approached.
In many situations, police who do not have the substantiation to commit a search will exaggerate the circumstances to justify the stop or search. A high-quality lawyer will be able to argue in court whether or not the police had probable cause to search.
What The Courts Look For In Determining Police Mistakes During An Arrest
While, of course, every situation is different, the judges and courts are looking for violations of rights in their investigations and discussions. Some of the “probable cause” indicators that usually come up in court include:
• Physical violence was a precursor to the arrest
• The suspect was believed to be armed and dangerous
• It was highly suspected that a suspect in an investigation was on the premises or in the car
• There is a strong likelihood that the suspect will run if they are not immediately arrested
• The entry was made without force
• There was consent to search or enter
While the presence of any of the above, or even multiple items from above, does not guarantee that the police did not violate your rights, they are good signs that the police followed the proper protocol.
Errors Made By Police
Police officers, just like almost every other person, can make mistakes. These errors can be extremely dangerous for those they are sworn to protect, however. Some of the most common mistakes they make include unlawful search and seizure, where police officers did not have a warrant to search and seize property or evidence (though there are exceptions to this rule).
Sometimes, police will fabricate or exaggerate facts to help find probable cause.
Another mistake is the interrogation of minors. This can be a gray area, but the courts are careful to ensure that a minor’s rights were taken into account or whether their requests were fulfilled in some cases. Juveniles are more likely to be intimidated by police, so this is an important factor to consider.
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes that police make is not being detailed enough on the police report. Police reports sometimes leave out important details that the officers may not remember – and that can hinder prosecution. These neglecting details can be small, but they can make all of the difference.
Contact A Nebraska Lawyer Today If You Believe That Your Rights Were Violated
While, of course, it is better to have a lawyer at your side from the onset, if you believe that your rights were violated during a police investigation or after it, contact a lawyer today. You want to find a lawyer that is experienced in dealing with the law and has your back – no matter what you have done in the past.
Contact Stockmann Law today at 844-906-0641 to get the representation you deserve.