Being arrested can be a terrifying experience, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and confused about what is happening. However, it is important to remember that you have legal rights and that the police must follow certain procedures when making an arrest. Unfortunately, police officers sometimes make mistakes during the arrest process, which can lead to legal issues down the line. Some common mistakes made by police officers during an arrest include:
- 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.
- 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. If you are interested in hiring a Maryland criminal defense attorney to pursue litigation regarding a police mistake, please contact us at 410-647-6677.
How to Handle Police Mistakes During Arrest
If you believe that the police made a mistake during your arrest, it is important to contact a Maryland attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and help you determine if your rights were violated. Some steps you can take to protect your legal rights include:
- Remain calm and polite: Even if you believe the police are in the wrong, it is important to remain calm and polite during the arrest process.
- Do not resist arrest: Resisting arrest can lead to additional charges and can make the situation more dangerous.
- Ask for an attorney: If the police attempt to question you, ask for an attorney and exercise your right to remain silent.
- Document the arrest: If possible, try to document the arrest by taking notes or recording the interaction on your phone.
Remember, you have legal rights, and it is important to protect those rights during an arrest. If you believe that the police made a mistake during your arrest, contact a Maryland attorney for help. An attorney can help you understand your legal options and can work to protect your rights throughout the legal process.
If you believe you have a case regarding police mistakes during a traffic stop or arrest, call Blackford & Flohr at (410) 647-6677 today to speak with a Severna Park attorney.