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search, Kane County criminal law attorneyMany drivers have had the sickening feeling of seeing flashing lights in their rearview mirror and knowing that they were being pulled over. There is much confusion surrounding what police officers are and are not allowed to do. This confusion has not been lessened by the recent events regarding the shooting of unarmed citizens by police officers and the following media frenzy. The right to be free from unreasonable governmental searches is guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, and it is important for you to understand your rights as a driver.

Probable Cause

The short answer to the question "Can the police search my car during a traffic stop?" is that it depends. Generally, a police officer needs a warrant in order to search someone’s property, but cars are different. A police officer cannot legally search someone’s car as a normal part of a traffic stop for a minor infraction such as speeding or a broken taillight. However, an officer can search a car if he or she has probable cause to do so.

Probable cause can include when illegal substances are in "plain view." Plain view means that an officer can search your vehicle if he or she sees an illegal substance (such as drugs) through the windows of the car. The officer may also be able to search the car if he or she smells drugs, including marijuana smoke. If an officer has reason to arrest a driver, he or she has the right to search the car after the arrest. This is called "search incident to arrest." Police officers may also search a driver’s car if they have reason to suspect that the driver has been involved in a crime. This could include seeing blood in the car or on the driver, or other evidence of a likely crime.

"Exigent circumstances," also allow an officer to search a vehicle. Exigent circumstances are "circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry (or other relevant prompt action) was necessary to prevent physical harm to the officers or other persons, the destruction of relevant evidence, the escape of the suspect, or some other consequence improperly frustrating legitimate law enforcement efforts."

Contact a Kane County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges any evidence obtained in an illegal search may be inadmissible in court. That is why it is important for you to seek quality legal assistance. Contact an Elgin criminal defense attorney for a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://openjurist.org/728/f2d/1195/united-states-v-mcconney

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-rights-do-you-have-when-pulled-over-2013-11

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police, Kane County criminal defense attorneysWhile the majority of police officers are good and decent human beings, police brutality, aggression, and confrontational behavior does exist. Knowing how to handle such situations, should you ever experience it, is critical. In fact, in some situations, it could even save your life. At the very least, an understanding of your Constitutional rights and thoughtful action could help mitigate the risk of a wrongful arrest, wrongfully filed charges, and wrongful conviction.

Understanding Your Risk

Anyone can be victim of police brutality or aggression, but certain groups are at an increased risk. For example, African American males are three times more likely to be killed by an officer of the law than any other race and gender combination. Further compounding this issue is the reality that African American men are much more likely to be stopped by a police officer than other groups. Therefor, it is critical that they, above all others, understand how they can attempt to deescalate a situation and protect their rights.

Protecting Your Rights and Safety

Dealing with an aggressive or confrontational police officer can be a frightening and traumatic experience. However, it is critical that you maintain calm, no matter how difficult it may be to do so. Any aggressive action on your part can escalate the issue even further. Regardless of what happens or how bad things get, be polite, do not engage, and speak as little as possible (this is especially important since officers are legally allowed to lie to you and attempt to manipulate you into incriminating yourself). Politely but directly, refuse to answer questions without an attorney present. If an officer continues to push you for answers, continue to restate your refusal reasonably and insist on waiting for an attorney.

If you find yourself in a situation where the officer will not let you go, politely ask him or her if you are being detained. If the answer is no, thank the officer and walk away. If you are being detained, then let the officer know that you are getting your identification, do so slowly, and then hand it over without making quick or sudden movements. Stay quiet and do not speak while the officer is reading your rights, then be sure to ask for an attorney. Once again, above all else, remain calm.

Contact a Kane County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, it is important that you seek quality legal assistance. Backed by more than 20 years of experience, Attorney Brian J. Mirandola has the skills and knowledge needed to aggressively represent you in your case. We will protect your rights and pursue a favorable outcome for your situation. Contact an Elgin criminal defense attorney for a free consultation today.

Sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/powerful-mannequin-challenge-video-focused-police-brutality-viral/story?id=43469138

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/fatal-police-shootings-in-2015-approaching-400-nationwide/2015/05/30/d322256a-058e-11e5-a428-c984eb077d4e_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/08/08/black-and-unarmed/

http://www.liberalamerica.org/2015/07/11/10-tips-survive-crazy-cop-matthew-cooke-may-just-save-life/

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

police training, guardians, Illinois criminal defense attorneyEvery few weeks, it seems, a new report or viral video of police-related violence against a criminal suspect takes over the public consciousness. It could be a shooting, allegations of excessive force, or even a death that creates major controversy in the headlines regarding the role of law enforcement and the factors that contribute to dangerous situations. In response to major concerns, an alternative method for training police officers is beginning to gain traction again, focusing on law enforcement’s role as protective guardians, rather than as conquering warriors.

Controlling Conflict

The effort has been underway in the Pacific Northwest for the last three years, as police recruits undergo such training at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. The Commission provides a different atmosphere than one might expect: no boot camp environment and no exercises focused on using weapons or violence to force a suspect to submit. Sue Rahr, executive director of the program, pointed out, "In most situations, it’s better if officers know how to de-escalate, calm things down, slow down the action."

Staggering Numbers

The Washington Post reports that law enforcement officers in the United State have shot and killed more than 900 people this year. This does not account for other deaths that may have occurred as the result of other violence or restraining techniques. By comparison, police in the United Kingdom have killed only 51 since 1920. Even taking into account the population disparity, there is little question that the difference in approaches to law enforcement is part of the equation.  Of course, much stricter gun control laws in Europe play a role as well.

Opposing Viewpoints

Not everyone involved with law enforcement is sold on the idea that guardian-style policing should be the primary point of emphasis for new officers. "We should go out there and expect something bad will happen and watch for it," said Alexis Artwohl, consultant to an international association of police trainers. "If we are not paying attention, we could die." The kill-or-be-killed mentality is seen by many to be a necessary element of law enforcement in this country today.

"There is a war going on for the soul of policing in America," said Samuel Walker, a national police expert, speaking about the conflicting guardian and warrior philosophies. "The outcome is uncertain."

If you have been the victim of overly-aggressive police activity, contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney today. Attorney Brian J. Mirandola is committed to helping you protect your rights when you are accused of a crime and will work hard toward a favorable outcome. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule your free consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2015/12/10/new-style-of-police-training-aims-to-produce-guardians-not-warriors/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/us-police-shot-more-people-dead-last-month-than-british-officers-did-in-95-years-a6769316.html

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