For anyone, being stopped on the street or pulled over by the police can be a nerve-wracking experience. This is especially true in light of recent reports about police officers who have been accused of using excessive force against civilians. When faced with a police encounter, it's important to know your rights and also the rules and procedures that police officers must follow.
In cases where a traffic stop or police encounter results in an individual's arrest, an arresting police officer must abide by strict procedural laws. First, in order to lawfully arrest someone, an officer must have either witnessed a crime or have what's known as probable cause or a compelling reason to believe that the individual in question committed or was involved in a crime.
Unless and until an individual is officially placed under arrest, he or she does not need to answer any questions and has the right to walk away from a police officer. However, if an individual is officially placed under arrest, he or she can no longer leave and must go with the arresting officer.
When placing an individual under arrest, police officers are barred from using excessive force. However, in cases where an individual resists arrest, arresting officers may use minimum force to secure an arrest and protect themselves against suffering injury.
Once an arrest has occurred, law enforcement officials aren't allowed to question or interrogate an individual until administering the Miranda Rights. Prior to answering any questions, an individual who has been arrested would be wise to contact a criminal defense attorney. In some cases, an individual may choose to invoke his or her Fifth Amendment rights and remain silent.
Violations of procedural laws by law enforcement officials may result in evidence being deemed inadmissible and criminal charges being dismissed. It's important therefore, that individuals who face an arrest pay close attention to what is being said and done at the time of the arrest.
Source: FindLaw.com, "What Procedures Must the Police Follow While Making an Arrest?" March 13, 2015