Your Rights if Questioned, Stopped, or Arrested by Police

driver pulled over by police

Police encounters can be most unsettling when you are being approached as a suspect or person of interest. Their presence can be somewhat intimidating and leave you unsure of how to conduct yourself. Depending on your actions or inaction, you may end up in police custody and being transported to the precinct for reasons unbeknownst to you. The best way to ensure that you are protected during encounters with law enforcement is to know your rights.

If you or someone you know who’s suspected of committing a crime had an unfavorable run-in with the police that led to an arrest, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm have over 100 years of combined experience. Our teams consist of former prosecutors on the state and local level who have a thorough understanding of how the opposition will approach a criminal case. We can implement our knowledge of detainment and arrest protocol to your benefit.

Right When Questioned by Police

Law enforcement has the authority to approach individuals and question them. Being approached by a police officer does not mean that you are a suspect or being pursued. They will likely only suspect you of committing a crime if you act suspiciously by running away or appear to attempt to conceal something. Law officials do not have to inform you whether or not they suspect you of participating in a criminal act when questioning you either.

You have the right to remain silent, but most people are unaware that you must make the officer aware that you are executing this right. You must verbally communicate that you are invoking your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent under questioning. Failure to do so can result in your silence being used against you in the court of law.

Rights When Stopped by Police

You’re being stopped or detained by police when the officer uses enough force or show of authority to make you feel as if you do not have the right to leave. You have the right to ask the officer if you are being detained. If the officer denies that you’re being detained, you have the right to leave their presence. If the officer has reasonable suspicion of you being involved in a crime and is not allowing you to flee the scene, he or she will have to prove that suspicion in court.

When you are stopped in a vehicle, you must provide the officer with your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration upon their request. You and your passengers have the right to remain silent, but you all must inform the officer that you are executing this right.

You do not have to consent to a search of your person or your possessions when a police officer requests. Police officers can, however, pat you down if they suspect you of possessing a weapon. You should never physically resist, but you can verbally deny a search request. In some cases the police will search you anyway. Do NOT resist but hire a lawyer to challenge the search later if you are arrested or charged with a crime.

Rights When Arrested by Police

Law enforcement has the right to place you under arrest if they have reasonable suspicion of you being involved in the commission of a crime. Never resist arrest even if you believe the arrest is unjust. By resisting arrest, you give the officer an opportunity to tack on charges.

You have the right to inquire why you are being arrested and the nature of the charges against you. If there is a warrant for your arrest, you have the right to see the warrant within a reasonable time frame of the request. You also have the right to be read your constitutional rights, commonly referred to as Miranda rights, in some cases may refuse a physical or chemical test, contact a responsible person via telephone, and be brought in front of a judge within 24 hours of your arrest.

The right that you benefit most from is the right to legal representation. The Florida criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm can ensure that your rights are protected and pursue necessary legal action in response to violations. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation from a knowledgeable local attorney.