Know Your Rights

Fourth Amendment

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Police Interactions

There are 3 types of interactions with the police: consensual encounters, investigative detentions, and arrests. Your rights under the Fourth Amendment are different for each type of interaction, and these interactions can change quickly. For example, your interaction may change from a consensual encounter to an arrest or from an arrest to a consensual encounter—all within minutes. Below are examples of the three types of interactions and advice on what you should and should not do when exercising your rights.

Consensual Encounters: Least Restrictive

  • Consensual: casual, voluntary conversation
  • Required To Show Identification: no
  • Free To Leave: yes
  • Permissible Searches: you consented, or anything in officer's plain view
  • Evidence Required For Encounter: none

Investigative Detentions: More Restrictive

  • Investigative: temporary questioning based on suspicion of a crime (includes traffic violations)
  • Required to Show Identification: yes
  • Free To Leave: not immediately, but officer's detention must be brief and relate to the reason for detention
  • Permissible Searches: you consented, anything in officer's plain view, or discovered during a pat-down—but only if the officer has a reasonable articulable suspicion that you have a weapon
  • Evidence Required For Detention: reasonable articulable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed

Arrests: Most Restrictive

  • Arrest: indefinite detention or formally placed in custody
  • Required to Show Identification: yes
  • Free To Leave: no
  • Permissible Searches: you consented, anything in officer's plain view, or discovered during post-arrest search
  • Evidence Required For Arrest: probable cause that you committed a crime

How to Properly Exercise Your Constitutional Rights

What You Should Do

  • Be respectful.
  • Calmly record the interaction.
  • Ask if you are free to leave. If you do not ask, the officer may think—and the judge may agree—that the interaction was consensual.
  • If you are free to leave, go!
  • If you are not free to leave, respectfully but firmly request to speak with your attorney

What You Should Not Do

  • Do not physically resist arrest.
  • Do not become aggressive or confrontational.
  • Do not consent to a search. The Constitution does not apply if you consent.
  • Do not answer questions without first speaking with your attorney. Police are allowed to hold you for 48 hours and they may lie to you the entire time.
Contact Chicago criminal defense attorney Thomas C. Hallock to discuss your case and your options.

HELPFUL TIPS FROM ME TO YOU

HOW TO PROPERLY EXERCISE YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

What You Should Do

  • Be respectful at all times.
  • Calmly record the interaction.
  • Ask if you are free to leave. If you do not ask, the officer may think—and the judge may agree—that the interaction was consensual.
  • If you are free to leave, go! If you are not free to leave, respectfully but firmly ask to speak with your lawyer.

What You Should Not Do

  • Do not physically resist arrest.
  • Do not become aggressive or confrontational.
  • Do not consent to a search. The Constitution does not apply if you consent.
  • Do not answer questions without first speaking with your attorney. Police are allowed to hold you for 48 hours and they may lie to you the entire time.

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