Over the past year the overreach of authority and abuse of power by police officers has been thrust into the nation’s focal point. The police involvement in the killing of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner caused waves of outrage and backlash from civil rights activists.
When the incident began in St. Louis many neutral members of the community asked how they could be sure that Officer Darren Wilson did or did not act in self-defense when he shot Michael Brown. When Tamir Rice was shot in Cleveland, a video surfaced showing the interaction between the officers and the twelve-year-old. When Eric Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by NYPD the country saw protests on an unprecedented scale. Even New York City Mayor DeBlasio and Governor Cuomo spoke out against police brutality, the latter saying, “We have a problem. Let’s acknowledge it.”
This level of police brutality does not directly touch most of our daily lives. Still, we have all witnessed or heard of some kind of overstep of authority. Here are some tips for handling an unlawful arrest provided by our Mankato DWI attorneys.
You have the right to remain silent
This is a severely underutilized civil right that we each have when combating abuse of police authority. You may be wrongfully arrested and still find that your frustration leads you to spew words that will only hurt your case. Officers do have the right to place an individual under arrest if they feel they are in danger. Do not arm them with your words by giving them a reason to believe they are in danger.
You are free from unlawful searches
Unless you see a search warrant, you do not need to consent to a search. The legal exceptions that exist to allow officers to search without a warrant do not require your consent. This means that if an officer asks for your consent to search your property, it is because he legally needs consent. You do not need to consent to a search. If you do so, whatever is found during that search can be used against you in a court of law.
You have the right to an attorney
If you are interrogated you have the right to consult with an attorney before you answer any questions or give any statements. While it is true that you need to provide identification and give basic information about yourself, you do not need to assist a police investigation. It is in your best interest to speak with an attorney as you may not even be aware of why you have been arrested or what the police are hoping you will say.
Remember, even if you don’t have the money, our judicial system holds this right so integral that an attorney will be provided to you at no cost. Always remember that you need to clearly state that you want an attorney (“I want an attorney”) as opposed to beating around the bush (“Do I need an attorney?”). If you are in need or an attorney contact Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Offices today for help or call 507-625-5000.