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What Are My Rights During a Police Encounter?

Posted Thursday, March 15, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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Know your rights.

Exercise your rights.

Encounters with the police are never easy. Even if you’ve done nothing wrong, it can be a frightening experience. The following are your rights during a police encounter.

If you run into problems with the police you’re welcome to call our law office 24/7 at 425-883-3366.

You have the right to say “no” to search requests.

In general, you have the right to refuse a search of your property or vehicle in the absence of a valid search warrant. However, if law enforcement officers have a search warrant, you must submit to the search.

The only reason an officer would asks your permission to execute a search is because she doesn’t have enough evidence to search without your consent. If a police officer asks your permission to search you, your vehicle, or your property, we encourage you to say no. Be polite and say something like, “Officer, I do not consent to any search of my private property.”

You have the right to remain silent.

You always have the right to remain silent. It is your right whether or not the police read you your Miranda rights. If you volunteer statements to the police, what you say can and will be used against you. The most advisable course of action is to stop talking and get yourself a lawyer.

The police may tell you that your cooperation will make things easier for you. You may hope to ’get off easy’ if you are honest with the police. This is rarely, if ever, the case. Your cooperation makes the officer’s job easier, it will not make things easier for you. In fact, if you admit guilt or give other incriminating statements, it could harm your ability to defend against criminal charges. Never give a statement or answer police questions without an attorney present.

You have the right to an attorney.

You always have the right to an attorney during any police interrogation (questioning) and during any legal proceeding. Exercise this right.

Once you ask for an attorney the police are no longer supposed to interrogate you until your attorney is present. This effectively stops the interrogation for a time and ensures that if/when you do answers questions, your attorney will be there to protect your rights and ensure you do not offer statements that will bolster a criminal case against you.

Unless you are “detained” or “under arrest,” you have the right to leave.

You have the right to terminate an encounter with the police unless you are being detained or placed under arrest.

The police have no duty to tell you that you are free to go, so you need to ask directly. If you are being questioned by police we encourage you to ask the officer: “Am I free to go?” If the officer says “yes,” then politely tell the officer to have a nice day and leave immediately.

Hire Padula & Associates, LLC to Defend You

When you hire our firm we will evaluate the facts of your case and guide you on the best course of action. The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC can help you fight the charges that have been filed against you. We answer the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We offer free consultations. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366 or contact us on the web to schedule your fee consultation today.

Our firm handles State and Federal criminal cases throughout Washington State, including King County and Snohomish County.