As Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyers, we are often asked many questions about what can take place during a random police stop. In light of the many news stories in recent months about police violence during a random stop, it is very important to inform the public of their rights. Failure to obey a police officer can be a charge that can have a person arrested. However, it can be something that you also have the right to do.
Can a Police Officer Order Me to Leave a Public Area?
If a police officer orders you to leave an area and you do not, they can arrest you. The real question is if the request for you to leave was legal. If you are on private property without permission, are hindering traffic flow, or breaking a law, the police officer can request that you leave. Failure to obey a police officer at this point will most likely result in arrest. However, if the police officer is asking you to leave and no crimes are being committed, this is not legal. The police do not have the authority to make you leave a public area without cause.
Is It Legal for Me to Video the Police?
Your Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyers will explain that you have the right to video tape anyone, including police officers and other public servants, if you are in a public space. There are some state laws that prohibit the video recording of anyone in a public space without consent, but the constitutionality of these laws is being challenged. It is very important to remember, however, that you may be committing a crime if recording your video hinders an investigation.
Can a Police Officer Search Me Without a Warrant?
The answer to this is yes and no. As your Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyers will explain, if there is reasonable cause to believe you possess a weapon, they can pat you down. However, even under suspicion, they cannot do a complete search without arresting you or getting a warrant. They cannot pat you down or ask to search you without cause. If you do agree to a search, they are within their rights.
Can a Curfew Be Enforced to Prevent My Right to Assemble?
The government can only enforce a curfew during an emergency situation to protect the lives and property of the citizens. They cannot enact a curfew to prevent a peaceful assembly.
If a Police Officer Stops Me on the Street to Ask a Question, Do I Have to Stop?
A police officer has the right to engage in conversation with anyone on the street, just like any other citizen. If you feel that the police officer is interrogating you, ask if you are free to go. If you are, leave. If not, protect your rights by asking for an attorney.
Contact Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
If you believe that your rights have been violated by the police force, or if you believe you were falsely arrested, you need to speak to one of the defense attorneys at Miel & Carr PLC. Protect your rights and call 616.773.2945 and speak to Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyers about your case today.