One of the biggest problems facing ordinary citizens when they encounter the police is that they don’t quite know their rights — and the police don’t seem to know them, either.
Take, for example, the incident involving a Philadelphia attorney who was dragged from her vehicle and charged with obstruction of justice because she declined to participate in a leading conversation with the officer who pulled her over for speeding. She had complied with his request for her license and registration but then exercised her right to remain silent — which apparently put the officer in a rage.
Then there was the case of a Texas man who was physically assaulted by an officer who was angry that the man declined to tell him where he’d been and what he’d been doing prior to the traffic stop — information he’s legally permitted to keep to himself.
Police officers often bluff their way around a citizen’s rights. For example, if an officer says, “You don’t mind if I look around your car, do you?” while already peering in your windows with his flashlight, many people will hesitate to say something like, “I don’t give you consent for that.” Police officers are trained to intimidate people with their mannerisms and voices alone — and the threat of a violent arrest often makes people compliant even when it isn’t in their best interest to be agreeable.
You are always wiser to vocally assert your right against an unlawful search and your right to remain silent when you’re confronted by the police. Doing so may not protect you from an arrest — especially if the police officer standing over you doesn’t feel inclined to respect your Constitutional liberties. It will, however, give your defense attorney a great deal to work with if you are subsequently charged with obstruction, drug possession or any other criminal charge. For more information, please continue exploring our site or contact our office directly.