Monday, August 25, 2008

Your Rights and the Police

Many of our clients here at Michigan Law Services, PLLC ask us what do they have to do (or shouldn't do) when they are stopped by the police. Whether it is the Police Department, Sheriff Department, or any other local law enforcement agency, you have certain rights at that early stage of the criminal procedure. Here is a list of things you must do and things you shouldn't do.

If you are stopped by the police, you must show identification if you are stopped while driving or if you are in a place that sells alcoholic beverages, like a bar. If you do not, you can and will be arrested. At any other time, you cannot be legally arrested for failing to present identification to a police officer. However, a police officer may ask you to state your name, age, and address.

If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) or Resident Alien (RA), you must have your alien registration card with you at all times. Many LPR's or RA's forget to have their alien registration card with them and may have complications with the police because of it.

If stopped while driving, you must show the officer your driver license, vehicle registration, and proof of auto insurance, but you do not have to answer any questions without a lawyer present.

If you are stopped, you can ask if you are being detained. If not, you are free to go. (However, you should never run from a police officer. It is better to be safe, and to contest the illegal stop later. It's always best to ask the police officer if you are free to go now, even if legally speaking, you are.)

If a police officer tries to detain you, never try to physically resist the police. This is never a good idea. Attorney Philip Vera of Michigan Law Services, PLLC have handled cases such as this, you can get into a heap of trouble for resisting and obstructing a police officer.

The police may search your body without your consent strictly for firearms or other dangerous weapons. You should make clear that you do not consent to a full search of your person. (Again, if they ignore you, do not try to resist them physically.) This may be a defense to your case. Macomb County Attorney Philip Vera have gotten defendant's cases kicked, even if the police find drugs or something else illegal on that defendant. If you aren't sure, make sure you call Michigan Law Services, PLLC for a professional opinion of your case.

Police may search your car, even without a search warrant, if they have "probable cause" to think the car or driver is involved in a crime. Probable cause can be something simple like the sent of marijuana emanating from the car. Just remember, this is another potential defense to your case, depending on the totality of the circumstances of your case. This determination requires a real professional eye. Call Michigan Law Services today for a free evaluation of your case.

Generally, police may not search your home without a search warrant. If the police tell you they have a search warrant, ask to see it. Make it clear that you do not consent to a search without a warrant.

If the police take things from you while searching your home or car, they must give you a receipt for whatever they take.

If you get a ticket, promptly call Michigan Law Services. If you fail to answer the ticket within the time allowed, you might be arrested or be found responsible for the underlying offense.

If the police suspect that you are driving while intoxicated (or under the influence of a controlled substance) and you refuse a breathalyser test, your driver license will be immediately suspended. Attorney Philip Vera has experience defending drunk driving cases. We will get you the best possible deal, even if you do blow over the limit.

If you are detained by the police, do not explain yourself to the police, or make excuses. If you do, these explanations may be used against you in court! Immediately ask to speak to an attorney at Michigan Law Services, PLLC. Make sure you tell the police you will not answer any questions unless your attorney is present.

Remember, at Michigan Law Services, our Attorney Philip Vera has the legal knowledge and experience to help you get through the criminal justice system with the best possible outcome. You will always get personalized services and some of the hardest working Lawyers in Macomb County. Call us at 586-991-1783 for a free consultation.

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