The following is what you should know regarding your rights when dealing with law enforcement in Philadelphia. If you believe police have violated your 4th amendment rights call today to schedule a free consultation with a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer and discuss your case.
A police officer can conduct a general pedestrian investigation on a street but must have reasonable suspicion to do so. To be exact, an officer must have what is commonly known as an individual’s “Terry stop rights,” which is reasonable suspicion that you are involved in criminal activity. Anything further like a search of your person or a detention longer than a few seconds requires “probable cause,” an even higher standard.
At all times a pedestrian being stopped on the street has the right to continue moving and walk away. Although police know this, they often mislead a pedestrian into thinking they must stay and cooperate with police. An individual has the right to remain silent and walk away unless an actual arrest is immediately taking place. An individual also can call their experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney and get advice on what to do. There are even circumstances where an attorney on the phone with police can immediately help the police to realize a pedestrian has the right to leave.
When you no longer feel you are free to leave you are in custody for legal purposes. Police officers must then read you your rights and Mirandize you before they can ask you about a crime. Additionally, you have a right to speak to your attorney and remain silent. If a police officer blocks your progress, draws their service revolver, or shows any force toward you, you are now considered detained and the officer requires probable cause to arrest you, otherwise a judicial authority can later invalidate your stop. Any contraband that was confiscated from you may then be suppressed with the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Regardless of whether an individual feels they have done anything wrong, an individual must be aware of their rights to remain silent and continue on without further police questioning. As stated earlier, an individual does not know why they are being questioned or what the police are looking for. Even sweating and a police officer stating a person looked nervous can be damaging. It is important to move on and away from any situation until you have sought out the advice of an experienced criminal attorney.
Protecting yourself is the most important thing a person can do. Second guessing a police officer’s intentions never helps an accused under any circumstances. This is when the two decades of experience with such matters bring me and my office into play. As it is often stated, “It is better to be safe than sorry.” Be safe and call us today.