When you have an encounter with law enforcement officers in Salisbury, Maryland it is always important to know your rights. Furthermore, what certain rights mean may change depending on the circumstances. If you are being asked a question on the street, it is a different situation than being handcuffed in the back of a police vehicle. Below we discuss some important things to know about your rights in certain common situations. To learn more consult with a Salisbury criminal lawyer today and schedule a free consultation.
What Are Your Rights When Detained Or In Police Custody?
A person who is detained or who is in custody has the right to refuse to answer questions and has the right to demand an attorney before answering any questions. This is an incredibly important right for all citizens to know. The police will make every effort to get a suspect to make a statement and they will place a great deal of pressure on a suspect to make them talk.
What Are Your Rights When Police Come To Your Home?
If a police officer comes to your home, you have the absolute right to refuse to let them in and the right to refuse to answer any questions. The only way that an officer can forcefully come in to your home without your consent is that officer has a search and seizure warrant for your home or has an arrest warrant for an occupant of that home.
If an officer shows up at your door, it is likely because they want to get inside, they want to look around and they want to try and get you to speak with them. It is your absolute right to refuse them entry and to tell them that you will contact them as soon as you had an opportunity to speak with an attorney.
It is your absolute right to say no. A criminal attorney would typically recommend that you say no with the utmost respect and deference to the police officer. However, you absolutely have the right to say no and you should do so to give yourself the opportunity to speak with an attorney who is going to be defending you and advising you of your right.
It is not the police officer’s obligation to advise you of your right to refuse them entry or your right to refuse them to consent to a search. An attorney is the advocate that is on your side, to advise you of all of those things.
What Are My Rights If An Officer Stops Me On the Street?
You do not have to speak to an officer who stops you on a street and asks to speak to you. You have the absolute right to refuse and to continue on your way.
In order for an officer to actually physically stop you and detain you, the officer must be able to articulate a reasonable suspicion that there is some sort of crime taking place. You are under no obligation to answer any questions and you may demand to have an attorney present before answering any questions.
Please understand that an officer does not have to Mirandize you unless you are in custody. The difference between being detained and being in custody is one of degrees. If you are being held in one place for a short amount of time, you are probably just detained. If you are handcuffed and driven to the police station by a police officer and a patrol car, you are probably in custody.
This concept is centered on whether or not a reasonable person would believe that they are free to go.
How Do I Know If I Am Being Detained Or Just Asked a Question?
It would depend on whether or not a reasonable person would feel that they are free to walk away. If you are detained, it simply means that you are not allowed to leave at that moment. But unless you are considered to be in custody, a police officer does not have to Mirandize you.
If you are held for a long period of time or if you are moved from one location to another by the police officer then you, more than likely, are in custody.
And if you are in custody, the police officer has to Mirandize you before asking you any questions. Oftentimes, police officers will err on the side of caution and they will Mirandize a person regardless of whether or not the person is simply detained or if the person is in custody.
The police officers will do that because they understand that if they are holding a person in custody and they ask that person questions without Mirandizing the person, then the statement that the officer might get the defendant to make will be excluded from being used at trial. That is why they will often err on the side of caution and will Mirandize a person even if the person would reasonably be considered free to go and not being held.