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It’s OK to say NO

Most people have a healthy respect for Law Enforcement and for the authority that they have. Generally, there is a want to comply with Law Enforcement officers, to cooperate, answer their questions. However, sometimes that healthy respect can lead to a person doing or saying something that may result in them possibly incriminating themselves or becoming a suspect in a criminal investigation. The two most important things a person can know are one your constitutional protections and two that respectfully exercising them is perfectly ok and your right as an American to do. So, what rights do you have? You have the right to remain silent, you do not have to answer any questions asked by an officer, it is perfectly OK to say NO I don’t wish to answer any question. Also, if you start to answer questions you can choose to stop answering any or all questions at any point in time. You also have the right to have a lawyer present before you answer any questions. It is important to know that you need to state I want to speak to my lawyer or a lawyer, this should effectively end any questioning or interview by the officer. You have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Generally speaking, an officer needs to obtain a warrant before than can conduct a search of a person’s home, phone, computer, and other personal/private items. However, one way around the warrant requirement is consent, a person can simply allow an officer to search their, home, phone, or car by granting the officer permission. Now consent needs to be given freely and voluntarily, meaning the officer can threaten you or force you into providing consent. If consent is freely and voluntarily given then the office will be able to conduct the search absent probable cause or any evidence that a crime is occurring or may occur, they could just have a hunch if that. What is important to know is that you do not have to provide an officer with consent, in fact, the mere fact that an officer is asking for consent should be a heads up that they don’t have much to go on because they are asking you for permission to search your things. Typically, the officer will ask do you mind if I search your car? Or do you mind if I take a look at your phone? The answer should be yes, I do mind or I’m not going to consent to any search of myself or my items. By doing or saying that you’re not being rude, or anti-law enforcement, you are simply to exercises your right to be left alone. Another important thing about consent is even if it is given it can be withdrawn at any time or you can limit the scope of your consent. For instance, an officer knocks on your door, asks a few questions, and then ultimately asks hey do you mind if I come in and take a look around. You can say sure, but don’t go into my bedroom. Or you could say sure, then 5 minutes later say you know what on second thought I would like y’all to stop and leave, please. Finally, you could just say NO, I’m not going to let you in or let you search. One of the most important things a person can know is the protections they have under the constitution, these protections apply whether you have been arrested, suspected of a crime or you just want to be left alone from possible overreaching by law enforcement. If you have been arrested or suspected of a crime it is important to know your rights, your options, and the potential defenses you may have in your specific case, at Meldon Law we have the knowledge and experience to assist you in every aspect of your criminal case. The attorneys at Meldon Law, know the rights you have and are dedicated to defending them and defending you if you have been charged with a crime or are suspected of committing a crime call us at 352-373-8000 for a free consultation.

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