Police officers in North Carolina and across the country have a duty to protect and serve. During the course of those duties, they have rules and procedures that the law requires them to follow. If they do not follow these policies appropriately, they may violate your rights or the rights of others during an arrest.
If authorities recently placed you under arrest, you may now have an uncertain feeling about your future. However, you know that you have the right to create and present a criminal defense against any allegations that have come against you, and one aspect for your defense that you may want to consider is how well the officers involved in your arrest complied with police procedures.
How can you know?
Understandably, you may not have a working knowledge of every rule, regulation, law and policy that police officers have a duty to follow when conducting an arrest. However, going over the details of your arrest may help you determine whether any wrongdoing on the part of police occurred at that time. If anything stands out in your mind as a possible violation of your rights, you may want to make note of it.
Some things that you can specifically look for when assessing the situation include:
- Whether officers took you into custody because they observed you performing what they suspected was a crime, had probable cause to believe you committed a crime or had a valid warrant for your arrest.
- Whether officers informed you of your Miranda Rights before conducting any questioning or interrogation.
- Whether the officers made it clear that you were under arrest by indicating that you were not free to leave, even if they did not place you in handcuffs or in a police vehicle.
- Whether the officers used excessive force or other unnecessary means to subdue you during an arrest.
These are some obvious details you can look for, but it is important to note that, even if officers followed proper procedures regarding these elements, it does not completely rule out the possibility for violations. In some cases, a person who does not have an in-depth knowledge of the law may not realize that an officer violated his or her rights. For this reason, it is important that you bring up any questions about officer activity to an advocate with working knowledge of the law, which may help your defense.