Police detention happens when an officer temporarily takes away a person’s freedom to leave. A detainment may not result in criminal charges, while an arrest will. For example, you may not be under arrest for a crime, but police may detain you if they suspect you have knowledge of a crime or are connected to one in some way. In order for you to be lawfully detained, police suspicion about you must be reasonable and valid.
While you are being detained, police use the time to determine if their suspicions about you are warranted, either through investigation or interrogation. For less severe offenses, detainment may be short. However, if detainment is a response to a major criminal event, the time can be prolonged. Regardless of the crime, if there is not enough evidence to sufficiently link you to a crime, you should be released without arrest.
What Makes a Police Detention Unlawful?
The factor that determines is detainment is legal is whether or not it can be classified as reasonable. If police, without legal justification, restrict your ability to leave, they have violated your civil rights under the Fourth Amendment. This is the amendment that prohibits officers from unreasonable search and seizure.
If police lie to a judge to obtain a search warrant, use excessive force, or do not have a reasonable belief that it is necessary to detain you or detain you for an exceedingly long period of time, then the detainment is unlawful.
What Can I Do if I am Being Detained?
The most important thing is to know your rights. You have the right to remain silent, and it is illegal to punish you for refusing to answer questions. You have the right to a lawyer and should certainly have one with you, especially if you plan on answering any questions. You do not need to consent to a search of either your person or belongings, although stop-and-frisk laws in California mean officers may still pat you down in search of a weapon.
Police are only required to read you your Miranda Rights in the event of an arrest. Know that you still have those rights, even in the case of detainment without arrest.
What Remedies do I have for Unlawful Detainment?
If you have been the victim of unlawful detainment, there are four types of remedies you can pursue. These are: filing a complaint against the police officer, filing a motion to exclude any evidence that may have been found during the illegal detainment, filing a lawsuit for an injunction (a court order requiring a person to do or cease doing a specific action), or filing a lawsuit against the officer or department for monetary damages.
For the best chance of success in fighting against an unlawful detainment, you need the best representation California has to offer. Call us now at (562) 462-9233 to see how we can help you get the justice you deserve.