Understanding Your Rights: A Guide to Encounters with Law Enforcement

Interactions with law enforcement can be intimidating, prompting feelings of uncertainty and confusion. It’s crucial, however, to be aware that even in such situations, you have specific rights and protections granted by the Constitution. This blog post aims to elucidate these rights, focusing on issues such as illegal searches, and providing some practical advice to ensure you’re equipped with the knowledge to navigate these encounters effectively. Knowledge is power – and in this case, it’s the power to protect your civil liberties. Continue reading to get started!

Call 317-636-7514 When You Need a Criminal Attorney Near Indianapolis
Call 317-636-7514 When You Need a Criminal Attorney Near Indianapolis

Your Rights Under the Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. This means that in most cases, officers are required to obtain a warrant before entering your house or searching through your possessions – regardless of whether they have probable cause. It’s important to note, however, that there are several exceptions to this rule, including consenting to a search by the police and any evidence of criminal activity in plain view.

Your Rights During a Cop Stop and Frisk

If you’re stopped by the police, it’s important to remember that you have certain rights under the law. The police must have reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed before they can search you. If they don’t have this suspicion, then it would be illegal for them to search you – and any evidence that is found could potentially not be used in court. When engaging with law enforcement, try your best to remain calm and answer their questions truthfully. You also have the right to refuse to answer any questions, and you should not give consent to any search.

Your Rights if You’re Arrested

If you’ve been arrested, it’s essential that you remain aware of your rights. You have the right to remain silent – and anything you say can be used against you in court. You also have the right to an attorney in most cases, so don’t hesitate to ask for one if you believe it’s necessary. It’s also your right to know the charges against you and why you were taken into custody. If you are under arrest and the arresting officer fails to read your Miranda Rights, you might be wondering what this means for you.

Miranda Rights are important legal protections that must be given to you by law enforcement before they interrogate you. If they don’t, any statements you make during questioning may not be admissible in court. This does not mean that you will automatically be let go, but it does mean that the prosecution may not be able to use certain information against you if they were obtained during an interrogation without reciting your Miranda Rights. It is essential to understand the importance of Miranda Rights and how to protect your rights when you are arrested.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Rights

When encountering law enforcement, it is important to remain aware of your rights and act in ways that can help protect you. If you feel that your rights have been infringed upon, make sure to take notes and document the encounter as best as possible. It’s also helpful to stay calm and non-confrontational, even in difficult situations – this can go a long way in helping diffuse the situation without escalating it further. It’s also beneficial to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you ever find yourself in a situation where your legal rights have been violated.

In Summary

Understanding your rights is essential to protecting yourself from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. With the knowledge of these rights, it’s important to stay cognizant of them during any encounters with the police – and make sure that they are respected. It’s also beneficial to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you ever find yourself in a situation where your legal rights have been violated. With the right understanding and preparation, it’s possible to navigate encounters with law enforcement safely and effectively.

Are you seeking an aggressive criminal defense litigator who can successfully represent you at a price you can actually afford? Contact Attorney David E. Lewis at 317-636-7514 to speak with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our criminal lawyers will obtain the best possible outcome to your criminal case!

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Understanding Your Rights When Pulled Over By the Police

No one wants to be pulled over by the police, but it happens. When you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to know your rights and understand how you should act. Police encounters can be intimidating, but if you are aware of your civil rights as an American citizen and exercise them properly, things can go more smoothly. In this blog post we will discuss what your rights are when stopped by police officers according to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S Constitution and provide tips on how best to handle a police encounter so that everyone stays safe.  So, let’s dive in!

Call 317-636-7514 to Speak With a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Indianapolis
Call 317-636-7514 to Speak With a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Indianapolis

Your Fourth Amendment Rights

The Fourth Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, and it protects people from unreasonable search and seizure. When pulled over, you have the right to remain silent and not answer any questions that are asked of you. You do not have to give permission for your car to be searched unless the police officer has a valid warrant or probable cause. If an officer has a valid warrant, they will present it before conducting a search.

Good Behavior During a Traffic Stop

It is within your rights to ask why you were stopped and if they are asking you to step out of the vehicle. It is also important to be polite when interacting with officers as this can help them keep their composure during the encounter. Additionally, make sure that any objects such as keys or wallets that you give to officers are returned once the encounter is over.

Outstanding Arrest Warrants

Whether you exhibit good behavior or not, if there is a warrant out for your arrest, the cop can  and will arrest you on the spot and take you into custody. In this case, you would leave your car there and it would be towed to the designated impound lot. You would be responsible for paying all towing and impound fees after you post bond and get out of jail.

Were You Arrested?

It’s important to note that if police do not read you your Miranda rights upon arrest and later make a confession, that confession may not be admissible in court. It’s crucial to understand your Miranda rights and exercise them if you’re ever in a situation where you’re under arrest or being questioned by law enforcement. Don’t hesitate to speak up and demand your rights. Miranda rights refer to the rights that every American citizen has upon being arrested by the police. These rights, established in the 1966 Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to have an attorney present during police questioning, and the right to stop answering questions at any time.

Were Your Rights Violated?

If you feel your legal rights were violated, and there’s no physical harm caused during the encounter, it’s best to document as much information as possible, including the officer’s name, badge number and any details of the incident. As soon as possible after the encounter, contact a criminal defense lawyer to learn how to move forward with the law on your side.


Overall, understanding your rights when pulled over by police can help ensure that everyone involved in an encounter stays safe and respects one another’s civil rights. Keep in mind that having knowledge of your Fourth Amendment Rights can help protect you from unreasonable search-and-seizures by law enforcement officials. Being aware of these laws and exercising them properly can help make your police encounters go as smoothly as possible.

You do not have to go through the legal system alone. Get a professional on your side who will fight for your rights and your freedoms. Contact Attorney David E. Lewis at 317-636-7514 to speak with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our law firm will get you the best possible outcome to your criminal case!

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What Should I Do if I Get Pulled Over By Police?

At some point in your driving career, you are bound to be pulled over by police. It doesn’t mean that you’re guilty of a crime, or even suspected of one; but nonetheless, cop-stops and traffic violations do happen every day, so it is wise to be prepared and know how to behave if you ever look up and see those flashing emergency lights in your rear view mirror.

Criminal Lawyers Indianapolis Indiana 317-636-7514
Criminal Lawyers Indianapolis Indiana 317-636-7514

Being Pulled Over is Not Always a Bad Thing

It is important to keep in mind that law enforcement is out there to protect us, even if that means from ourselves. So, when you see yourself getting pulled over by police, do not panic. It is very likely that they are pulling you over for something minor, such as a broken taillight. They might be pulling you over to help you with something, like an unscrewed gas cap or dangling license plate.

Courtesy and Cooperation Will Help Your Situation

In all cases of being pulled over by police, the most important thing to remember is that good behavior goes a long way. Whether you are guilty of something or not, if you are 100% cooperative and courteous to the on-duty officer, it is very likely that you will be treated with high regard and that your best interests (including your personal time) will be made a priority by them. Cops are ultimately here to help us and protect us, and if you let them do their job, your police encounter will go by a lot faster and end with a more desirable outcome, even if you are arrested.

Cop Stop Tips

If you are ever pulled over by law enforcement, whether driver or passenger, these are the steps that you need to remember and practice to the best of your ability:

Pull to the Right. Pull over to the right shoulder of the road as soon as you know police are stopping you. Do not pull over to the left side. If you cannot access the right side of the road right away, drive a few feet longer, until you have adequate space to pull over.

Stay Still. Do not move from your seat after stopping. Don’t even unbuckle your seatbelt or grab your purse. Remain perfectly still with your hands on the wheel while you wait for the officer to approach your window. You can reach for your car documents when the officer asks for them.

Be Very Nice. Be polite and answer the police officer’s questions with respect. Although it is up to you on how truthful you want to be with them, the most important thing is that you speak to them in a respectful tone and courteous manner. Do not raise your voice, give attitude, show anger or frustration, call them names, or accuse them of anything. Do not be confrontational in any way.

Oblige the Officer. Along with being respectful and courteous, it is important to oblige the officer by making him or her more comfortable. If it’s nighttime, turn on your interior cabin lights on so that they can see you. You can also do things like turn your car engine off and turn the radio down so that you two can converse more clearly. These little actions can work in your favor.

Keep Conversation Short. It is important that you don’t speak too much when conversing with the police officer, especially if you are concerned that you might be guilty of a crime or have a warrant out for your arrest. It is better to say only what you need, answering the police officer’s questions directly and concisely, but not in excess. Talking too much could cause you to give up too much information, which could potentially incriminate yourself. More importantly, do not admit to any wrongdoing.

Where you recently pulled over by police and wrongly arrested for a crime, or you suspect that your rights were violated? Contact the Law Office of David E. Lewis at 317-636-7514 for superior and aggressive Indianapolis criminal defense you can count on. We can meet over the phone, via online video conference, or in person at our office.

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5 Types of Probable Cause for DUI Traffic Stops

Although the facts will differ among all cases of drunk driving arrests, there is a general guideline that police officers use to determine probable cause in a DUI traffic stop. Continue reading to learn what signs and clues law enforcement look for to establish probable cause in a drunk driving arrest and what to do if you were recently charged with a similar offense in Indiana.

DUI Lawyers Indianapolis IN 317-636-7514
DUI Lawyers Indianapolis IN 317-636-7514

Reasonable Suspicion for Traffic Stops

When it comes to DUI traffic stops, it is important to understand the difference between reasonable suspicion and probable cause. In all cases of traffic stops, whether a driver has been drinking alcohol or not, law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion that a driver has committed a traffic violation or infraction before pulling them over. Once pulled over, law enforcement must then establish probable cause to make an arrest.

In order for a police officer to legally arrest a person for a DUI, there must be probable cause, which is evidence that supports an officer’s reasonable belief that a driver is intoxicated, or under the influence of a drug or controlled substance.

Reasons You Might Have Been Pulled Over for Drunk Driving

Both reasonable suspicion and probable cause can be a means to a DUI arrest. Police officers can use either principal, or both, to conduct a legal traffic stop and establish an arrest. The types of probable cause or reasonable suspicions can vary depending on each situation of intoxicated driving. However, these are the top 5 reasons why police officers pull people over and arrest them for drunk driving:

Traffic Violations

Traffic violations are one of the top reasons why people are pulled over, regardless of alcohol involvement. Common traffic violations include expired license plates, illegal U-turns, illegal parking, failure to use turn signals, ignoring traffic signs, running red lights or stop signs, and most recently, texting and driving.

Reckless Driving

Poor driving is another common reason why police officers pull people over. If a person is exhibiting bad or reckless driving, a cop can legally pull them over to conduct a traffic stop. Examples of reckless or bad driving include speeding, following too closely, failing to yield, ignoring traffic signs, driving too slow, and similar risky behaviors.

Car Accidents

Speaking of risky behaviors, law enforcement can use the occurrence of a car accident to establish reasonable suspicion to question a driver. Whether you are at fault for a car accident or not, police can question you, and if it comes down to it, arrest you for a DUI. They would need to make some observations to establish a legal basis for arresting you, though. See below to learn more.

Mid-Stop Observations

Once a police officer has pulled a driver over, they can continue their investigation by keeping their eyes open for tells or signs that a person has been drinking alcohol or using illicit drugs. A cop can establish probable cause and make a DUI arrest if they smell alcohol on your breath, hear you admit to having a drink earlier, see alcohol containers in your car, catch you in a lie, and more. Other signs that officers use as evidence of drunk driving include slurred speech, glossy or red eyes, dilated pupils, slowed movements, incoordination, insubordination, crying, and hostility.

BAC Testing

To really seal the deal and come in with some valid evidence to support their reasonable suspicion and probable cause, law enforcement relies on field sobriety testing and blood-and-alcohol (BAC) testing. Also known as chemical testing, a breathalyzer is one of the most common devices used during traffic stops to determine a driver’s level of alcohol in their system, and therefore, reveal how much they’ve had to drink within a 24 hour time period.

The legal limit is 0.08 percent BAC. If you blow this or more, you will be arrested on DUI charges. Upon being arrested, and with your consent, law enforcement will request to have your blood drawn and tested to confirm a precise BAC value.

Field sobriety testing is another strategy used by law enforcement to establish probable cause for a DUI arrest. Walking the line, touching the nose, and following the pen with the eyes are typical phases of a field sobriety test.

Were you recently arrested for a DUI or similar offense in Indiana? Contact the Law Office of David E. Lewis at 317-636-7514 for aggressive and skilled DUI criminal defense in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our teams work around the clock to reduce or dismiss your DUI penalties and avoid jail!

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Facts About Police Stops and Pat Downs

When a police officer decides to pat you down or frisk you, are they within their rights in all cases? Are they allowed to stop and frisk at their own discretion? Without any merit? Continue below to learn what you need to know about cop stops and pat downs, including how to defend your criminal charges if you were just arrested after a similar police encounter.

Illegal Search and Seizure Criminal Lawyer Indianapolis Indiana 317-636-7514
Illegal Search and Seizure Criminal Lawyer Indianapolis Indiana 317-636-7514

Detention and Search

What’s commonly referred to as a stop and frisk is also known as a detention and search. Because of the Supreme court decision handed down in the Terry versus Ohio (1968) case, they are also called Terry stops or Terry frisks. No matter the moniker, this type of police encounter occurs when a cop decides that a person might be committing, or has recently just committed a crime and asks them to stop and answer some questions. This is the detention part, which is not the same as being under arrest (Fourth Amendment). As for the search, police officers will pat a person down to check for illegal drugs, weapons, contraband, or paraphernalia.

Police Officers Must Have Probable Cause

Cops are not permitted under law to stop just anyone they want at any time for no reason at all. Police officers must have probable cause to stop and question a person. To arrest them, they must have probable cause or a warrant. Probable cause can mean a lot of things, including evidence, witness statements, and suspicious behavior. This means that cops can find probable cause at their own discretion.

So, although it might seem like a police officer stops someone for no reason, professional training and strategies used by law enforcement can allegedly spot the signs of suspicious or criminal behaviors. Upon being stopped by a police officer for reasons of suspicion, you can expect a pat down to follow, as this is normal procedure to check for threats or weapons.

If a cop detains a person without reasonable cause, the arrest and charges would be inadmissible in court.

Am I Free to Go or Not?

If a person is stopped by police for questioning, whether or not they are free to leave depends on the cop’s behavior and communication. If a cop is touching you, has their weapon out, or using a harsh tone of voice, then you are NOT free to leave. In these situations, you are being detained by police and cannot leave at your own discretion.

Confused? Don’t be. Typically, you will just feel it; you will know that you are or are not allowed to stop the conversation and walk away from a cop who is questioning you. If you ask the cop if you are free to leave and they answer yes, then you can end the discourse and walk away without repercussion.

Are you facing Indiana criminal charges after being stopped by a cop on the street? Contact the Law Office of David E. Lewis at 317-636-7514 for aggressive Indianapolis Indiana criminal defense you can afford.

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