Can The Police Detain You? Why?

Did you know that in most circumstances when you’re being detained or arrested, you have the right to be told the reason behind the arrest, you also have the right to be searched in a reasonable manner, invoke your right to counsel as a result remain silent until you talk to an attorney? But did you know that there’s a world of difference between detention and arrest? Being detained means that while you haven’t been formally accused of committing a crime, you will, however, be restricted and kept in police custody on what’s considered as reasonable suspicion.

Note that law enforcement agents are only allowed to detain you if they have reasonable grounds to suspect you’ve been involved in a crime and during your time in custody, they can question you or carry out further investigation until they allow you to leave. Not all people who are detained will be under arrest, however, they deprived of their freedom stretching from the brief period when they are held by the police for the purposes of a search to a period of imprisonment. While the police are allowed to arrest a suspect in a case, the Constitution does guarantee under the 4th Amendment that an individual is to be free of both unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that everyone has, as part of his rights as a United States citizen, a reasonable expectation of privacy from government intrusion.

The difference is, if you are suspected of criminal behavior and a police officer presents you with a warrant for your arrest or, even without one, but has a valid reason based on probable cause or reasonable suspicion, then he or she is allowed to detain you temporarily in order to ask questions or investigate a crime. The questions the police officer asks you while being detained may or may not lead to an arrest and generally, such a detainment can take anywhere from fifteen to twenty minutes before you are allowed to leave. But, don’t celebrate yet because this time limit may vary greatly depending on the particulars and severity of the case including the police officer involved in the detaining.

Statistically speaking, there are around 14 million apprehensions carried out every year and if you don’t have an attorney to advise you on what to do to maintain your civil rights were you to find yourself in such a pickle, the first thing you should ask is whether you’re being detained or arrested. Officers must have reasonable suspicion to detain you and if it turns out that it’s detainment, you have the right to invoke the 5th amendment, therefore, remain silent and be careful not to fall for police interrogation tricks until you talk to a criminal attorney.

Regardless of the situation, always ask to have your lawyer there with you to make sure your rights are protected because it’s a direct violation of your civil liberties for the police to keep you detained without probable cause.

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