Although it may seem like a good idea, if you are stopped by law enforcement and asked questions it may not be in your best interest to answer. With this in mind, the following is information on police stops on the street, what your legal rights are, and why it is important to contact an attorney before you say anything. To learn more, call and schedule a consultation with a Bucks County criminal lawyer today.
In Bucks County, when a police officer stops an individual on a street corner, in a vehicle, or under any sort of circumstances, the individual has the right to continue moving on and does not have to stay and cooperate with the police officers. The police officer can only make an initial pedestrian request that the individual stay and cooperate with police unless police see an individual committing a crime, have a warrant for their arrest, or have a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot. An individual does not have to comply with police even asking them to stop.
In many cases the innocent individual who is stopped by police because they are trying to be a good citizen may later be the person or the mistaken person the police are looking for. Under most circumstances, if no crime has been committed, the police did not see an individual commit a crime, are not present for such a crime, and there is no warrant obtained by police, an individual has the right to walk away and refuse to be questioned by police in Bucks County.
In Bucks County, as in the rest of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a person is determined to be in custody when their liberties or their rights are taken over by the police. For example, when a person no longer feels free to leave a particular circumstance and move on, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has determined that the person is to be considered in custody.
Once a person is considered no longer free to leave or in custody, that individual has certain rights that attach immediately, such as Miranda warnings which must be read to the individual. These Miranda warnings prevent a person from making a statement that could incriminate.
Two elements exist. First, a person doesn’t feel free to leave, that is called custody; and second, the police are interrogating or questioning a person. A question that could elicit an incriminating or guilty response is protected by Miranda rights. A person must be advised they have the right to remain silent and seek the services of an experienced Bucks County criminal defense attorney before cooperating any further with the police.
In most cases, individuals not experienced in the law feel they can cooperate with the police and everything will be justified. The problem is, in most cases, the reason why police officers are questioning or interrogating a person in the first place is because the person is the target or is the person of interest the police are trying to find. Not knowing what the police want from an individual is the biggest problem with the person cooperating directly with them.
Once a person cooperates with the police and tells them everything that the police want to know, it is much more difficult for an experienced Bucks County criminal defense attorney to suppress certain statements or suggest that certain statements were not given voluntarily.
When a person decides, “I’m going to cooperate with the police. I did nothing wrong,” they open themselves up to any possibility without any recourse as to their actions. If that occurs, the person has many problems that could have been avoided.