Consensual VS Unconstitutional. Know the Difference Between These Interactions with Law Enforcement
As both residents of the state of Maryland and citizens of the United States, we are all given certain protections involving interactions with law enforcement officers. However, unconstitutional searches and seizures still take place throughout the state. How can you tell whether your interaction with the police was consensual or if your rights were violated?
Were You in Control of the Situation?
You can begin to assess whether interactions with law enforcement are constitutional as it is taking place. Throughout the interaction, be sure to always make a conscious effort to judge who is in control of the situation. If the interaction has already taken place, try to recall whether you could have reasonably left the situation if you desired. If you would have felt uncomfortable or threatened by leaving, the interaction can be classified as a seizure.
Were You Involved in an Investigatory Stop?
If you end up being pulled over for an investigatory stop, you will not be free to leave the scene if you wish to do so. Investigatory stops are brief, non-intrusive stops in which individuals are temporarily detained. The key to remember here is that the officer who stopped you must have reason to suspect that you have committed a crime or are in the process of committing a crime. Without any reason to make the stop, they are not operating within legal bounds.
Were You Arrested by Law Enforcement?
Did your interactions with law enforcement ultimately end up with your arrest? As is the case with investigatory stops, law enforcement must be able to display probable cause to make an arrest. Thus, if a law enforcement officer physically restrained you and/ or arrested you without any criminal activity to justify the action, you should be sure to reach out to an experienced law firm. With expert help, you may be able to get any resulting charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
Are You the Victim of Unconstitutional Interactions with Law Enforcement? Contact Atkinson Law Today
At Atkinson Law, we are family. We are a husband-and-wife team of lawyers with an extensive background in criminal law cases, and we want to help you keep any potential nightmares at bay. To learn more about how we can assist with the aftermath of your arrest, search or seizure, contact us today by calling (410) 882-9595 or visiting our website.