Am I Being Detained? 6 Questions You Should Ask During Interactions With the Police

Am I Being Detained? 6 Questions You Should Ask During Interactions With the Police

Being stopped by law enforcement officers can be frightening and intimidating. Many people assume they do not have any rights when police officers question them. Even when you did nothing wrong, you should treat an encounter with a police officer seriously. However, that does not mean you should not exercise your rights.

Understanding your legal rights is the first step in protecting them. A Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer can help. Do not resist arrest or flee from the police because that makes matters worse. Instead, ask the police officers these six questions:

1. Am I Being Detained?

When stopped by police officers, always ask if you are being detained. If you are not being detained, you are free to leave. However, don’t just walk away. Follow up on their response with a second question: “Am I free to leave?”

It is never wise to voluntarily answer questions that you are not required to. However, the officer will use your lack of questioning the stop to gather more information that could lead to an arrest if you don’t ask to leave.

2. Why Are You Detaining Me?

If the officer tells you that you are being detained, you have the right to know why. Ask the police officer to tell you why they are detaining you. It is important to understand that the officers can detain you if they have a reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime. The officer can gather information to form probable cause for an arrest by detaining you.

Remember, your right to remain silent extends to anywhere you are being questioned by police officers. It is not limited to the police station. You can respectfully decline to answer questions by invoking your Fifth Amendment rights.

Trying to explain yourself or talk your way out of an arrest is not a good idea. The more you say, the better chance you will say something that could incriminate you.

3. How Long Do You Anticipate Detaining Me?

You should not be detained beyond a reasonable period without justification. A “reasonable period” is subjective. Therefore, the officer probably will not give you a direct answer, but ask the question so you can tell your Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer what the officer said.

4. Do You Have an Arrest Warrant? If so, What Am I Being Charged With?

The officers might have an arrest warrant. If so, ask the officers to tell you what the criminal charges are against you. Other than asking that question, continue to exercise your right to remain silent for now.

5. Do You Have a Search Warrant?

Officers have the right to pat you down for weapons. However, they should not conduct a search without a warrant or probable cause. Try to remember as many of the details as possible to tell your attorney.

Do not consent to a warrantless search. If the officers proceed to search your person, home, or vehicle without a warrant, calmly state that you do not consent to the search. However, do not resist the search or fight back, as that will escalate the matter, which could be dangerous and result in criminal charges.

6. When Can I Speak to My Attorney?

You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning and to consult with a Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer. Exercise your right to remain silent except for exercising your right to counsel. Ask the police officers when you will be allowed to speak with an attorney.

Law enforcement officers lie. They will lie to you and trick you. Don’t answer their questions without a lawyer present. Don’t plead guilty or make/write statements before you speak with an attorney. There could be several defenses to the criminal charges against you that could result in dismissing the charges.

Get Help From a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney

You should not resist arrest, argue with the police, or become belligerent. You should exercise all your rights when dealing with police officers.

Remember, some officers might not respect your rights. However, it is crucial not to resist arrest or fight with the officers. Instead, make mental notes of everything, hire a criminal lawyer as soon as possible, and let your attorney take action on your behalf.  

For more information, please contact our criminal law firm of Cofer Luster Criminal Defense Lawyers, for a free consultation. Give us a call at (682) 777-3336 or visit our convenient location:

We serve Tarrant County and Fort Worth, TX surrounding areas.

Cofer Luster Criminal Defense Lawyers
604 E 4th St Ste 101, Fort Worth, TX 76102