Police came to my house and arrested me saying that I was the suspect in a hit and run case. My vehicle was involved in an accident the same night as this happened, and was being store near my garage on my property. They towed it away to impound without my consent or a warrant. Is this legal? And what bearing will this have on my case? My rollover accident left my vehicle in great disrepair and they say that the damage is consistent with damage that would have been caused by a hit and run. I feel like I'm being framed as a result of my background.
This is not a speeding ticket question. Re-post in general criminal defense, as you are facing serious allegations.
A proper answer to this request would require a more detailed review of the facts and circumstances of your case. Warrantless seizures are presumptively unreasonable, but there are several exceptions to the warrant requirement. You need to hire a lawyer.
This answer is provided for general information only. No legal advice can be given without a consult as to the specifics of the case.
Yes, not only can the police do illegal things to you, but they will also get away with them unless your attorney promptly brings a proper motion to suppress the evidence seized. If that is the only evidence against you, it means that you would win. However, there are exceptions to every rule, so get an attorney and tell the story to him or her to see if it is worth fighting the charges, rather than posting facts online which could be used against you in any such case. You also might have other defenses which need to promptly be established with timely notice to the government such as alibi.
Do not assume that I am your attorney because of my response here, since I would not normally be taking any further action on your case. You can request further clarifications on AVVO or past answers which might help you at http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/53401-wi-jay-nixon-1529181/answers.html?sort=recency http:// or at http://www.lawguru.com/answers/search/attorney/jknixon.
My answer here does mean that I am representing you, so be sure to consult your own attorney before deciding on what you should do.
The warrant requirement is not absolute. There are exceptions. In cases involving motor vehicles the courts have allowed searches and seizures that would not apply in cases involving a residence because vehicles move quickly and can drive away with evidence. There may have been a warrant obtained of which you are not personally aware, or there may be some valid exception to the warrant requirement. You should retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to review the discovery, conduct investigation (if necessary), hire expert witnesses (if necessary), and analyze the case. Then sit down and talk with that lawyer and follow his or her advice. I would suggest that you NOT share any additional details about your case on a free-legal-advice website that is open to the public (including law enforcement and the DA).
This communication is for the purposes of general advice only. This communication does not form any contractual obligation on behalf of the Attorney Stephen W. Sawyer or the Law Offices of Stephen W. Sawyer.
I am going to give you an overview of this issue. HOWEVER YOU NEED TO GET A LAWYER NOW ABOUT THE SPECIFICS OF THIS CASE
When and where authorized.
In most jurisdictions, statutory law governs when and where an arrest by a police officer is authorized. Usually, a police officer may arrest for a felony when there exists probable cause, irrespective of whether the crime occurred in the officer's presence, but a police officer can arrest for a misdemeanor only if the crime occurred in the officer's presence. With some exceptions, most states have statutes that prohibit a police officer from arresting a person who commits a misdemeanor outside of the officer's presence. Statutory exceptions to this general rule permit arrests for certain misdemeanors that occur outside an officer's presence.
There are geographical limits on a police officer's power to arrest for minor offenses. For example, the power of a police officer at common law to make an arrest without a warrant is limited to the boundaries of the governmental unit by which the officer is appointed, unless the police officer is acting in hot pursuit of a suspected felon who has committed an offense in the officer's presence and within his or her territorial jurisdiction. Usually state statutes provide that a peace officer who is outside his or her jurisdiction may arrest, without warrant, a person who commits an offense within the officer's presence or view if the offense is a felony, except for a violation of the traffic code. The statute has been amended to remove the traffic code restriction in certain circumstances. By statute, some states broadened its common-law rule to permit "extraterritorial 'fresh pursuit' arrests for any arrestable offense, whether it be a felony or misdemeanor, initially committed in the arresting officer's presence and within his jurisdiction." However, the officer must have some reason to believe that the suspect has committed an offense for which an arrest is authorized before the officer can pursue and arrest in such a manner.
PROBABLE CAUSE TO ARREST
A warrantless arrest may be made when the arresting officer has probable cause to believe that the person arrested has committed or is committing a crime. However, probable cause does not re-quire the same quantum of proof necessary to warrant a conviction. A probable cause finding need not be supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, probable cause merely re-quires the existence of facts and circumstances that, when viewed together, would lead a reasonable person, possessing the same expertise as the arresting officer, to conclude that an offense has been or is being committed, and that the person to be arrested is the person who committed the offense.
In determining what is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, the US Supreme Court has given great weight to the essential interest in readily administrable rules. It has acknowledged that nuanced judgments about the need for warrantless arrest are desirable. The Court nonetheless has declined to limit to disturbances of the peace and felonies the Fourth Amendment rule allowing arrest based on probable cause to believe a law has been broken in the presence of the arresting officer. The rule extends even to minor misdemeanors because of the need for a bright-line constitutional standard.
As the phrase itself suggests, "probable cause" depends on probability, not certainty. "In dealing with probable cause we deal with probabilities. These are not technical; they are the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act." However, "mere whim" or "idle curiosity" does not give rise to probable cause. A valid arrest may be made on information provided by a "citizen informer," and the informer's prior reliability need not be established before the arrest. The only caveat placed on such a rule is that some of the details of the information must be verified
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