Law enforcement officers stop both drivers and pedestrians when they suspect illegal activity. Their intention here is to collect evidence of a law being broken, which will then lead to a conviction if what the officer suspected was correct. Let’s talk about the police’s right to stop and search you while walking, loitering, or driving in Maryland.
Police’s Right to Stop You
Fair or unfair, police have the authority to stop you anywhere, anytime without reason. When an officer approaches you, whether it occurs on a sidewalk, in a shopping mall, or while you’re driving, they will ask you for your name or request personal identification. Depending on the circumstances surrounding why the police officer has stopped you, you may get in worse legal trouble if you say nothing at all, so identifying yourself is important to do.
Police’s Right to Search You
LEOs may request to search your person or your belongings (including a vehicle) after they have stopped you. You may refuse this request, as they need to have reasonable suspicion that illegal activity is occurring or that a law has been broken in order to search you. If an officer has a warrant to search your person or vehicle, you may ask to see the paperwork but must comply with what is stated in said warrant. If you believe you have been searched illegally or that the LEO that searched you or your vehicle did not have probable cause to do so, contact a professional attorney in Maryland to discuss your rights and take legal action, if necessary.
What To Do When You Are Stopped by Law Enforcement
There are some safe actions you can take when you are stopped by a police officer, whether or not you are guilty of illegal activity:
- Remain calm and speak in a peaceful manner.
- Provide your identification information to the officer.
- Place your hands on the steering wheel and your car keys on the dashboard when an officer stops you in your vehicle.
- If you desire, you may assert your legal rights to the LEO:
- “I have the right to remain silent and I would like to hire an attorney before answering any questions.”
- “I do not consent to a search of my person or property.”
- “Am I being charged with a crime?” or “Am I free to leave?”
Need Help Fighting Your Legal Case in Maryland?
Once your interaction with the officer has ceased, call our professional lawyers at Albers & Associates if you feel you have been mistreated, or stopped or searched illegally. Our legal experts will advocate for you and ensure the legal process that follows your claim is completed fairly and justly. Contact us today to set up your free legal consultation.
Criminal Defense FAQs
Can I Appeal My Criminal Case?
If your case was tried in the District Court of Maryland, you do have the right to an appeal which would result in a brand new trial that doesn’t regard the findings of the initial court that tried your case. You have 30 days from the date of sentencing to appeal a case.
Will the State Appoint Me a Defense Attorney?
You may choose to accept legal assistance from a state-appointed lawyer during your trial. However, working with a criminal defense attorney at Albers & Associates means you’ll receive more personalized and dedicated care from a lawyer who is dedicated to aggressively pursuing the best outcome possible for every client they work with.
Why Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney for a DUI?
Maryland is one of the states in the U.S. That assesses both administrative and criminal penalties when someone is charged with a DUI. This means that fines, license suspension, and imprisonment are all commonly assessed when a driver has been caught doing so under the influence. The MVA handles most of the administrative charges, but a criminal defense lawyer is necessary if you want to avoid harsher penalties for the criminal charges.