Peter Blair | February 6, 2023 | California Law
Police officers are an essential part of the community and are responsible for maintaining law and order. However, there are many instances where police officers cross the line and engage in activities that are illegal. If you believe that a police officer has violated your rights, it’s important to speak with a San Diego criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Police Officers Can Lie
Deceptive tactics can come in many forms. An officer might tell a suspect they have evidence they don’t actually possess, misrepresent legal rights, provide false promises of leniency, or even claim to have an eyewitness when none exists. The list goes on and on; the truth is there are hardly any limits to what law enforcement officers may say in order to gain a confession.
It is important to note that while police officers can legally lie during interrogations, they cannot physically harm suspects or threaten them with violence to gain information. These tactics violate constitutional rights and can be used to get those statements ruled inadmissible in court.
Police Officers Can Ask You To Exit the Vehicle During a Traffic Stop
Police officers have the right to ask you and your passengers to exit the vehicle during a traffic stop. The caveat is that the traffic stop must be legal; they can’t pull you over just because they feel like it or “have a hunch” that something is wrong.
Refusing instructions or antagonizing an officer should be avoided, as this will only delay the process and increase tension. If you believe your rights have been violated, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible.
Police Cannot Stop and Frisk Without Reasonable Suspicion
In the case of Terry v. Ohio, The U.S. Supreme Court established guidelines for what constitutes a legal stop and frisk. According to these guidelines, a police officer can only stop someone if they have specific and articulable facts that the individual is involved in or is about to be involved in criminal activity. This is referred to as reasonable suspicion.
During the stop, a police officer may pat down – frisk – the person’s outer clothing to check for weapons only if they have reason to believe the person is armed and dangerous. This should be limited to a pat-down of the person’s outer clothing and should not involve a more invasive search.
Police Cannot Make You Speak Without a Lawyer
According to the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, a person has the right to remain silent and cannot be compelled to incriminate themselves. This means that a police officer cannot force a person in custody to speak or answer questions without a lawyer present.
This right is commonly referred to as “Miranda Rights,” which were established by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona. Miranda rights include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to have an attorney appointed if the person cannot afford one.
What To Do If the Police Violated Your Rights
If you believe that a police officer has violated your rights, there are a few steps you can take:
Remain calm: It is important to remain calm and not resist the officer. Arguing or fighting with the officer can lead to additional charges and escalate the situation.
Document the incident: Write down the officer’s name, badge number, and any other identifying information. If possible, take photos or videos of the incident. Get the contact information of any witnesses.
Seek legal assistance: If you feel that your rights have been violated, seek legal assistance from an attorney right away.
File a complaint: File a complaint with the police department’s internal affairs division. Many police departments have a complaint process in place for citizens to report police misconduct by officers. Always speak with a lawyer before doing this.
Contact a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer If a Cop Violated Your Rights
While the police are responsible for enforcing the law and maintaining order, they are also held to a high standard of conduct and are subject to oversight and discipline if they violate the law or department policies. If you believe your rights have been violated by the police and you need help, contact a San Diego criminal defense attorney.