Police officers makes an arrest when they have reason to believe that a person may be involved in criminal activity. An arrest does not make the suspect guilty. However, the individual’s way of interacting with law enforcement can often sway the outcome of their defense case.

Law enforcement officials are prohibited by law from searching an individual, their home or vehicle without probably cause- save for a few exceptions. Under normal circumstances, the police cannot enter a person’s home without a warrant. If this happens, evidence obtained during the search cannot be used to convict the subject. Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer Matthew Tyson advises individuals not to give consent to the police to perform a search without a warrant. The moment you let them inside, you waive many of your rights.  Ask to see a copy of the warrant before allowing the officers to proceed.  While it is ok to refuse entry without a warrant, Tyson warns not to physically resist when interacting with law enforcement. Getting physical with an police officer can make the situation worse.

Air travels can become accustomed to pat downs as part of a TSA screening. So, it may seem natural to allow a police officer to perform a pat down, or to check a person’s pockets. However, this is not a routine screening — consent is required. Again, it is important not to physically resist while interacting with law enforcement. Instead, tell the officer, “I do not consent to any searches, but I will not resist.”

Interacting with law enforcement while driving a vehicle is comparable to when a person is at their home. When a police officer pulls a driver over onto the side of the road, the office must have “probably cause” to search the vehicle. Drivers in this situation should present the officer with their license and registration and keep their hand on the steering wheel.  When the cop hands back the license, the drive should ask if he or is free to leave.

Houston Lawyer Matthew Tyson suggests that individuals remember their basic rights when interacting with law enforcement during an arrest.

Rights during an arrest include:

  1. The right to remain silent
  2. The right to a fair trial
  3. The right to be protected by a lawyer

The arresting officers are required to inform the suspect of their rights- including the right to remain silent. This is known as the Miranda warning. Once the suspect is informed of the right to remain silent, anything he or she says can be used against them at trial. In most cases, if the arresting official fails to Mirandize an individual, the suspects words cannot be used against him or her during the trial.

Tyson advises that once a subject has given their name, address and date of birth, they are not required to talk to police- no matter the authorities say. “The less you say, the better, even if an officer arrests you illegally. Remain calm, don’t fight or resist, and tell them, I will not answer any questions without my lawyer.”

To learn more about interacting with law enforcement and other criminal rights, contacted a criminal defense lawyer.

Posted by Legal Lookout Editor