Your Rights When Interacting With Law Enforcement in Manassas

The following is what you should know when interacting with Manassas law enforcement in various situations such as on the street, at your house, and in police custody. To ensure that your rights are not violated and you do not incriminate yourself call and schedule a free consultation today with a Manassas criminal lawyer.

What Are Your Rights When in Police Custody?

Whether or not they tell you of your rights, you absolutely have the right to remain silent and you absolutely have the right to have legal counsel present during any and all questioning. Those rights don’t automatically begin or end depending on whether or not the police advise you of those rights. That’s an important thing most people don’t know.

Your Fifth Amendment rights follow you everywhere you go. It’s not up to the police to begin your Fifth Amendment rights at the time that they tell you that you have them. You have them regardless of whether they’ve told you of those rights or not.

What Are My Rights If Police Come To My Door? Do I Have to Let Them In?

When police come to your door you have an absolute right to tell them that you don’t want to say anything and to have a nice day. Most attorneys strongly recommend not being rude about it, but you don’t have to let them in. You can just very politely say, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have anything to say,” and gently close the door. Don’t try to slam the door in their face or anything like that, because if they’re standing too close, they could charge you with attempting to assault a police officer with your door which has actually happened before. Just very simply say, “I don’t have anything to say, you guys have a good night.” And leave it at that.

What Are My Rights If Stopped By Police on the Street?

That has become a little bit of a grayer issue, because if a police officer orders you to stop, you have to do that, at least initially. At that point, you’re not free to go until they tell you that you’re free to go. Your rights, however, remain the same. You have the absolute right to remain silent, and you have the absolute right to request an attorney’s presence during any questioning.

Whether or not you can go really depends on the nature and specific circumstances of that encounter. If it is what police call a consensual encounter, then you are absolutely free to go. However, if the police choose to escalate it to what’s called an investigatory detention, then you’re not free to leave. The investigatory detention realm is that gray area between consensual encounters and arrest where a person isn’t technically placed under arrest, but they are in police custody.

How Do I Know If I’m in Custody or Simply Being Asked a Question?

That’s again a very gray area, but the most obvious and commonsensical way to find out is ask, “Am I free to leave?” If they say no, then you know you’re being detained. If you’re just being asked a question, then you know it’s a consensual encounter and you’re free to leave. Under those circumstances, again many attorneys strongly advise most people to exercise their right to leave and do so.