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There are many common mistakes made by the police during arrests. The infographic above discusses some of those mistakes, so you can be aware of how to combat them in a criminal case.
- No probable cause – Oftentimes, officers make their arrests based on suspicion, but it is not based on probable cause. Walking down the road at night is not a crime, nor should it be deemed “suspicious.” All arrests must begin with probable cause, which can lead to a search of you/your property and questioning.
- Undercover officers – It’s not illegal for an officer to be undercover, but the only true aspect that should be “undercover” is the vehicle. If an officer is on the road looking for traffic law offenders and/or drunk drivers, he/she can be in an undercover vehicle; however, he/she must be in uniform. A city/state police officer cannot arrest you out-of-uniform.
- Misconduct at the time of the arrest – We see it in the news all the time: an officer gets arrogant or physical during an arrest. When you are resisting arrest, an officer can use force; however, if you are cooperating, the officer has limitations set by the law that restrict him/her from getting too “physical.” Other misconduct can include verbal misconduct. If the officer decides resorts to name-calling or displays any form of unprofessional behavior, it can be beneficial for you to use this in the courtroom. Keep in mind that evidence of misconduct is often required for it to really have an impact on your case.
- Forgot to read your Miranda Rights – It is not uncommon for an officer to forget to read your Miranda Rights, or chooses not to on purpose. If you are arrested and asked questions without being read your Miranda Rights (AKA Miranda Warning), then everything you say can’t be used against you in court. It does not exactly mean that the case is a win for you, but it is definitely in your favor.
- Unprepared court cases – Arguably one of the most common mistakes made by officers is to arrest someone and then ignore the case until he/she is called to court. It’s vitally important for the prosecutor and defendant to rigorously prepare for their upcoming cases. Unprepared officers will display a lack of professionalism and clarity in the case. If the person who arrests you can’t accurately describe the arrest, then who is to say that he is telling the truth?
- Breaking protocol – During all types of cases, especially DUI/DWI cases, police officers have protocol to follow. Breaking that protocol will deem evidence gathered at that stage irrelevant to the case. Mishandling of evidence, such as forgetting to sign out evidence, is fairly common in most small cases.
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