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Your Rights When Interacting With Leesburg Law Enforcement

If you are stopped and questioned by police either on the street or at your house, it is important you are familiar with your legal rights and do not incriminate yourself in any way. With this in mind, the following is taken from an interview with a Leesburg criminal lawyer as they discuss your legal rights and what you should know. For more information on your case, call and schedule a consultation today.

Your Rights If Stopped On The Street

According to the laws under Terry vs. Ohio, it is permissible for an officer to stop you on the streets and ask you certain questions under certain circumstances. This is known as a Terry Stop, which is limited in nature but allows for an officer to stop individuals without prior probable cause or prior justification.

During the Terry Stop you are required to answer questions such as your name, date of birth but not required to answer any questions that may incriminate you or involve you in illegitimate activities. In addition during a Terry Stop the officer may do a pat down for your safety and theirs but they are not permitted to ‘Search’ you at that time.

How Do I Know If I Am Being Detained or Just Questioned?

The easiest way to tell the difference regarding legal status and whether you are being detained or just being questioned or just a ‘Consensual Encounter’ is to ask the officer if you are free to leave. If you are not free to leave, it means you are being detained or in custody. If you are free to leave and you choose not to exercise that right, you are having a consensual encounter with the officer and the officer may continue to ask you questions.

Your Rights If Police Come To Your Door

If police come to your home to ask questions without a warrant, you are not obligated to answer the questions. You may politely refuse to answer the questions and ask the police to kindly leave your property. You should not be rude or disrespectful at that time but calmly and politely assert your rights. If the police have a warrant, they are obligated to show you the warrant, explain it to you, and serve the warrant.

When Do Your Miranda Rights Come Into Play?

The most common misconception about Miranda Rights is that you are read it as soon as you encounter law enforcement. This is not true. When we talk about Miranda Rights, according to the Unites States Supreme Court decision Miranda c. Arizona, Miranda Rights only apply in situations when you are under arrest or placed under custodial equivalent of arrest. There are certain exceptions for Miranda Rights. These exceptions may include when you offer information without being questioned, when there is an emergency that necessitates your questioning or when the questions occurs in the context of a traffic stop or a DUI stop.

Failure to read Miranda Rights only applies to statements made against the clients’ interests after the Miranda Rights should have been read. Therefore, it is common for Miranda Rights to not apply for most cases if the person may not be interrogated after their arrest.

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