The United States and Minnesota Constitutions protect citizens from unreasonable seizures by the police. If your liberty is restrained by the police through a show of authority or physical force, consider yourself detained. A seizure occurs when a reasonable person believes that he or she is not free to terminate police questioning or to walk away from the encounter. You may be seized by police when there is a threatening presence of several officers, they display a weapon or use language and tone of voice indicating you must comply. Remember, the police are allowed to walk up to a person in a public place or approach a driver seated in a stopped car and speak with them, but you are not required to respond to questioning.
What is required before the police are allowed under the law to seize or detain a person? The police must have a reasonable and objective basis for suspecting the person of criminal activity. The reasonable suspicion standard is lower than probable cause but still must have an objective justification. If the police do not have reasonable suspicion to detain a citizen, a skilled criminal defense attorney will challenge the seizure as unconstitutional. This will provide a basis for challenging the use of any evidence obtained by the police after the suspect is illegally detained including incriminating statements, weapons or controlled substances.
If you or someone you know may have been detained by police without reasonable suspicion and charged with a crime, please give me a call at (612) 339-1024 for the “Best Defense.”