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Investigative Detention: What Can Happen During a Police Investigation

Investigative Detention: What Can Happen During a Police Investigation

Police are allowed to detain you when investigating a crime legally. Find out the difference between an arrest and an investigative detention.

You’re walking down the street and you suddenly find yourself in the back of a police car, questions swirling as you try to understand what’s happening.

This moment introduces you to the world of Investigative Detention. But what can happen during this process, and what are your rights?

Today we’re answering those questions, as well as covering how Investigative Detention is different from arrest, and more.

Understanding Investigative Detention

Investigative Detention is what happens when police stop someone because they think that person might be connected to a crime. It’s a temporary stop, and it allows the police to figure out if their suspicion is correct.

The legal side of Investigative Detention is interesting. The law says police can do this under certain conditions.

They can’t just decide on a whim. They need a good reason, known as “reasonable suspicion,” to believe someone is involved in criminal activity. This is what gives them the green light to detain a person for a short time.

There are clear limits to this kind of detention. The law is strict on how long someone can be held without being charged with a crime. This is to make sure people’s rights are protected.

The idea is to prevent the police from keeping someone for too long without a solid reason.

The Criteria for Investigative Detention

When police stop someone because they think that person may be linked to a crime, they’re entering the realm of Investigative Detention. But not every stop turns into this kind of detention.

The police have reasonable suspicion, which means they have more than a hunch. They have facts or evidence that point to someone being involved in a crime.

Being Detained vs. Being Arrested

Understanding the difference between this and an arrest is key. Arrests require “probable cause,” which is a higher standard than reasonable suspicion.

Probable cause means the police have enough evidence to charge someone with a crime. Investigative Detention is less about having enough evidence to charge and more about looking into whether someone might be involved in a crime.

This distinction matters because it affects what happens to a person in these situations. During Investigative Detention, the police can ask questions and gather information to see if there’s enough reason to escalate the situation to an arrest. They’re trying to build a bridge from suspicion to solid evidence, if indeed there is any to find.

Rights During Investigative Detention

When someone is stopped by the police, it’s natural to feel anxious or worried. That’s why knowing your rights during an Investigative Detention is so important.

Even in these situations, you have rights that protect you. For example, you have the right to know why you’re being detained. The police should tell you why they think you’re connected to a crime.

You also have the right to remain silent. This means you don’t have to answer any questions the police ask you, except for giving them your name in some places. This is a protection against accidentally saying something that could be used against you later.

Can you refuse to cooperate with the police? Yes and no. While you can refuse to answer questions, there are certain things you might have to do.

For example, if the police have a legal reason to search you, refusing might not be an option. However, always remember that you have the right to be treated fairly and with respect.

How Long Can You Be Detained?

When someone is detained by the police for investigation, one of the first questions they might have is, “How long can I be held?” The answer isn’t always simple, but there are laws that set limits.

Generally, the police can only hold you for a short period. This time is meant for them to check if their suspicions are correct. If they find enough evidence, the situation might change. But without evidence, they can’t keep you indefinitely.

The exact time you can be detained without being charged varies. It depends on the local laws where the detention takes place. Yet, the goal is the same everywhere: to make sure no one is held longer than necessary without just cause.

After being detained, several things can happen. If the police find enough evidence during their initial investigation, they might arrest you.

This would mean they believe they have enough to charge you with a crime. If they don’t find enough evidence, they should release you.

Sometimes, if the situation is unclear, they might extend the detention to gather more information. But again, there are strict rules about how long and under what conditions.

Collecting Evidence During Investigative Detention

During an investigative detention, the police have some powers to search for evidence. This is part of their job to figure out what happened in a crime. But there are rules they need to follow to make sure they respect everyone’s rights.

One power they have is to search a person they have detained. This can include looking through their pockets or bags. The idea is to find anything that might link the person to the crime they’re investigating.

But the police can’t just search anyone for any reason. They need to have a good reason to believe that the person might have evidence on them.

There are protections in place to prevent unfair searches. The law says that searches should not be unreasonable. This means the police should have a strong reason for the search. It also means the search should be related to the investigation.

Know Your Rights

Understanding Investigative Detention is vital in navigating encounters with law enforcement. It’s a balance between the necessity of crime investigation and the protection of individual rights.

By comprehending the nuances of being detained versus arrested, people are better equipped to advocate for themselves while ensuring the justice system remains fair and equitable.

Since 2019, Heartland Law Office has provided legal services for family law, criminal defense, DUI, estate planning, business law, bankruptcy, guardianship, child custody and tribal law in Bismarck, ND and surrounding areas. Get in touch today to find out how we can help with your case.