James R. Makin Law Firm

    James Makin continues to provide an informative legal answer article in a local newspaper. The following are informative examples from The Examiner.


Q.     When are you "under arrest"?
A.     You are under arrest when law enforcement officers take you into custody or deprive you of your freedom.

Q.     A police officer wants to ask me questions, what are my rights?
A.     You have the right to remain silent (anything you say could be used against you). If you started answering questions you have the right to stop answering at any time. You have the right to consult with an attorney prior to and during the questioning.

Q.     Can an officer detain me without arresting me?
A.     Yes, a police officer may require you to identify yourself and explain your presence at a particular time.

Q.     When may an officer "pat me down"?
A.     If the officer believes you may be armed or dangerous he may conduct a limited pat down of your outer garments.

Q.     Can I be arrested without a warrant?
A.     If you commit an offense in the presence of the officer or if a credible person reports that you committed a felony and are about to leave/escape, an officer may arrest you.

Q.     How much "force" can an officer use?
A.     An officer may use reasonable and necessary force to overcome resistance. So don't resist, obstruct or not follow instructions.

Q.     If I am arrested at home, what may an officer search?
A.     The officer may conduct a limited search of the immediate area. They may seize contraband, stolen property or evidence of a crime. They may also check the rest of the house for accomplices.

Q.     If I am arrested in my car, what may the officer search?
A.     The officer may search your car for weapons that could be used against him. He may not make a general search unless there is probable cause that the vehicle is carrying evidence of a crime or contraband.

Q.     If an officer asks for my Social Security number during a traffic stop, am I obligated by law to give it?
A.     No. Social Security numbers are protected under the Federal Constitution, Texas Constitution, and Texas Common Law.

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