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Questioning by police is not the same as detainment

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2020 | Firm News |

Those in Albuquerque and across the United States need to know their rights when it comes to being questioned by the police. Many people aren’t aware that they do not have to answer any questions and are free to walk away at any point as long as they have not been formally detained.

Police might take advantage of the fact that many people feel forced into answering questions. This might lead to individuals having their rights violated. Police cannot legally detain an individual unless they have probable cause. Probable cause is more than just a suspicion or a hunch; police must have probable cause based on factual evidence before detaining an individual.

This factual evidence may be obtained in a variety of ways such as witness testimony, observation, police expertise or, in some cases, circumstantial evidence. A judge often determines if there is enough probable cause to issue an arrest or a search warrant. Police can detain a person if they have reasonable good faith that a judge would issue a warrant. If a judge later determines that there was not probable cause, a criminal defense attorney may be able to have evidence found marked as inadmissible in court.

It’s important that police only detain people in situations where there is enough probable cause. If the police detained an individual without having enough evidence, this is a violation of the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights. Any evidence acquired during the search might be inadmissible, and the warrantless arrest may be invalid. Those who have been brought into a police station for questioning have the right to leave unless they are formally charged and detained. A criminal defense attorney might be able to help an individual who has been detained without a warrant by showing that there was not enough probable cause for the detainment. If this can be proven, the criminal charges might be reduced or dismissed.