In the United States, an arrest occurs every three seconds, and low-level offenses such as drug abuse violations and disorderly conduct make up eighty percent of these arrests. Being detained or arrested can be stressful for any individual involved, especially for drug-related offenses. There is a high occurrence of arrests daily, but many of these occur unlawfully or result from law enforcement violating a defendant’s rights.
If law enforcement proceeds to drug search through your belongings, you must know your rights and what questions you should ask in these situations. At John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm, our successful Louisiana criminal defense attorneys may be able to review your case and help you avoid wrongful convictions for an unlawful drug search.
Am I Obligated to Answer Questions Asked by Police Officers?
As a citizen of the United States, every individual has the constitutional right to remain silent and request a lawyer for legal help when they encounter trouble with the law. If a law enforcement officer approaches you during a traffic stop or any place, it is best to remain respectful and cooperative. Many times, interrogations can escalate or lead to unnecessary arrests. To help prevent the occurence of this, hiring a drug crime attorney and understanding how to exercise your rights may help.
Are There Any Exceptions for the Right to Remain Silent?
Although you are not required or obligated to answer questions about a crime or police investigation without your lawyer, there are some instances where answering is appropriate. Generally, giving your name and identifying information is appropriate when encountering a conversation with the police.
Additionally, if you are pulled to the side of the road during a traffic stop, you must present your ID card, car registration, and insurance. Despite these exceptions, you are not obligated to answer any other questions that may lead to incriminating evidence or a violation of your rights.
6 Questions to Ask a Police Officer During a Drug Search
It is essential to understand your rights and how to spot when an office may be abusing its power. In many cases, individuals are fearful of refusing to comply or answer any questions a police officer may have for fear of getting arrested or sent to jail. Despite this, you have a right to ask questions and ensure that your rights are protected.
1. Can I Have Your Name and Badge Information?
Just as law enforcement is required to gather identifying information from any individual suspected of a crime, individuals can request for police to verify their identity. This helps you avoid being scammed or misled into an unlawful search or arrest. Despite the outcome of a drug search, your attorney can review every aspect of your case and advise you on what was genuinely warranted in a drug-related case.
2. Can I Speak With My Lawyer?
Everyone has the constitutional right to remain silent and speak with an attorney when encountering trouble with the law, regardless of whether a police officer informs them. Requesting to speak with a lawyer helps you because you’ll refrain from being incriminated with a statement or confession.
3. Can I See the Warrant to Search My Belongings?
Law enforcement must present a warrant to search your belongings if they are looking through your home, car, or other possessions. However, there are specific expectations for drug-related cases. If your belongings are unlawfully searched and drugs are found, they may not be admitted into valid evidence since they violated your rights.
4. Am I Being Detained or Arrested?
If you are stopped by police officers while driving, encounter them at your home, or elsewhere, you have the right to know whether or not you are being detained or arrested. During an arrest, officers typically read you your rights and notify you that you are being taken into their custody. If law enforcement does not imply that you are detained or arrested, you may be free to leave. However, if you are detained or arrested, you are taken into their custody, and your rights are limited.
5. Why Am I Being Detained or Arrested?
Another vital question to ask officers is why you are detained or arrested if this is your case. Police officers must state the legitimate reasons for your arrest and the crime you are suspected of committing. With an attorney, you can investigate the handling and processing of your arrest to determine if you were lawfully arrested or just facing the consequences of the law enforcement’s abuse of power.
6. Can You Refrain From Asking Me Questions Until I Speak With My Attorney?
Depending on the severity of the situation, or the crimes in question, being interrogated by police is a very stressful experience. You have the legal right to ask them to refrain from interrogating you without your attorney present or an attorney’s legal advice. You can remain compliant and completely silent without breaking the law. Your attorney can protect your rights if you are drug searched and detained.
Speak With Louisiana Drug Crime Attorney Eric G. Johnson for an Aggressive Defense
Whether you encounter the police during a traffic stop, in your home, or anywhere during the day, it’s essential to understand your rights. Many people fail to realize their rights in drug-related criminal cases and are unlawfully detained or subjected to unauthorized searches. Regardless of your situation, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is your best option for reviewing your case and ensuring your rights are not being violated.
If your rights are violated, or law enforcement did not read your Miranda rights, gathering their identifying information and contacting your attorney as soon as possible can help you resolve your case. At John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm, our attorneys work to build an aggressive defense for our clients. Speak with our legal team by completing a contact form or calling (318) 377-1555.