What Are Your Rights When Dealing with the Police? When Should You Call Your Attorney?Written on October 3, 2014
Most people are glad there are police officers patrolling the streets. If you are in danger, or have been the victim of a crime, a law enforcement officer is a welcome sight. First responders, like police officers and firefighters, are the ones who run towards trouble when everyone else is running away.
There are times, though, when contact with an officer isn’t under the best of circumstances. If you hear a knock on your door and find an officer with a warrant in hand, for instance, you may not have such a great feeling. There are different types of warrants that allow the authorities to do different things. No matter the document they have, you still have rights and are protected under the Constitution.
Arrest warrant: This type of warrant is issued for the arrest of an individual. It may be for something like a probation violation or a recent crime that has been investigated. Just because a judge issues a warrant, though, doesn’t mean you are guilty. You always have a presumption of innocence.
If an officer comes to your home with an arrest warrant, for you or another who resides there, and they have a reasonable suspicion the person is inside, they have the legal authority to search the premises. The search, however, would be limited to the places a person could hide. In other words, drawers and small cupboards couldn’t be searched.
Search warrant: A search warrant, also signed by a judge, must specifically list the correct address and exactly what the police are looking for. If the warrant lists a ten foot tall bronze statue, a dresser drawer in the bedroom is off limits.
You have the right to call an attorney if you, or your home, is the target of a search. It’s important to remember, though, that law enforcement personnel don’t have to wait for your lawyer to arrive. It’s never a good idea to interfere with the police if a lawful duty is being carried out. If you do, an obstruction charge could become a reality.
Traffic tickets: If you are pulled over, you have an obligation to give the officer your license. That’s the law. If you are issued a citation, it’s recommended that you sign it. By doing so, you aren’t admitting anything. The signature merely acknowledges that you received the ticket along with a court date. If you choose not to sign the ticket, you will be taken to jail and have to post bond in order to be released. It’s much easier to just sign and have your day in court if you don’t believe you committed the infraction.
It can feel as though the authorities have the upper hand when it comes to searches and traffic stops. It’s important to remember that there are certain things you must comply with, but that doesn’t mean you surrender your rights. If you need legal counseling or assistance as it relates to these matters, call The Silverbach Group. We are experienced attorneys who will fight for you. You can reach us at 770-635-0334.