Continue reading to learn more about each type of police encounter, and what to do if you or a loved one is arrested and taken to jail.
Talking to Police
When talking to a police officer, it may be difficult determining which kind of encounter you are experiencing. Fortunately, you can make this determination by asking the right questions. By asking the proper questions, you can better gain an idea of the police officer’s intent, and know how to continue the encounter. People in the United States can come across three primary types of police encounters, including consensual conversation, investigative detention, and of course, arrest. During each type of encounter, you want to ask yourself three very important and divulging questions:
1. Am I Free to Leave?
2. Am I Required to Show Identification?
3. Can I Be Legally Searched?
Consensual conversation is the least serious type of interaction with law enforcement. This can happen under several circumstances. For example, a cop might knock on your door to ask about some recent neighborhood disturbances, or you might ask a cop on the streets for directions. Law enforcement does not need any evidence to have a consensual conversation with a citizen. In reference to the three questions you must ask yourself: in a consensual conversation with law enforcement you DO have the right to leave. Also, you DO NOT have to show identification and you CANNOT be searched. You can legally refuse to speak or assist law enforcement under consensual conversing, as well as, refuse to show I.D. and refuse to consent to a search.
A police officer can only search you during a consensual conversation if they physically see something illegal or gives them cause for suspicion. For example, if you stop a cop on the street to ask for directions to a restaurant, but they happen to see drug paraphernalia sticking out of your purse, they can start an investigation on the spot. This leads to the second type of police encounter: investigative detention.
Behaviors that catch the attention of law enforcement will lead to a routine stop and investigation. Investigative detention means that a police officer is detaining an individual for the moment to conduct an investigation to determine if they are breaking the law in any way. A common example is a routine traffic stop for speeding. During this type of police encounter, the three questions you must ask yourself are answered differently compared to a consensual conversation.
Under investigative detention in Indiana, a citizen is NOT free to leave and must show identification, however, they can only be searched if they consent or the officer physically sees something illegal or suspicious in plain sight. When detained for investigation, a person must stay detained until the cop permits them to leave. Accordingly, if the cop finds something that warrants an arrest, they don’t let you leave at all, and instead, take you to jail. This can include an arrest warrant, an open container, the smell of alcohol or illicit drugs, drug paraphernalia, and more.
If your wrists are in handcuffs and the police officer is reading you your Miranda Rights, then you are experiencing the third type of police encounter, an arrest. After an investigative detention, if a cop finds cause to arrest a person, they will be detained and transported to the nearest county jail. In jail, the person has the option to post bail and await their court hearing at home, or remain in jail until their sentencing. Choosing a bail bond company is the easiest and most secure way to get out of jail following an arrest. Simply make the call to a local bail bondsman, and they will handle it from there. Obviously, during an arrest, you are not free to leave, you must show I.D., and you can be searched endlessly. You might also be asked to consent to sobriety and chemical testing.