Hot answers tagged

87 votes

Suing a Police Officer Instead of the Police Department

Even if you had grounds for a lawsuit, you could not make it come out of the officer’s pocket. Under Chapter 4.64 of the Seattle Code, the City of Seattle is generally required to defend and indemnify ...
user avatar
  • 20.3k
69 votes
Accepted

First amendment and employment: Can a police department terminate an officer for speech?

In general, employers in the United States are free to fire you for your speech. The First Amendment does not apply to anyone except the government (other than a narrow set of circumstances where ...
user avatar
  • 20.3k
67 votes
Accepted

How can you tell if you have to follow a police officer's instructions?

You don't know. You can't know. And you can't force the officer to tell you. Detention Status As a practical matter, you have no way of knowing if you are compelled to follow an officer's order ...
user avatar
67 votes
Accepted

Can I ask a cop, "What happened?"

You are allowed to ask the police whatever questions you like. There is an upper limit that you can't refuse to obey a lawful order on the premise that you want to ask a bunch of questions, but they ...
user avatar
  • 156k
61 votes

Is it illegal to run away from a police officer in a way that provokes them, in the US?

Bobstro gave the practical answer, that it's a stupid idea for many reason. This is for the US in general, states may have laws that say otherwise. It is not illegal to provoke someone or a ...
user avatar
  • 1,349
59 votes
Accepted

Can illegal aliens claim sanctuary in a church?

The case you identify is not unique. For example, the Unitarian church in Denver has done much the same thing. There is not a legal right to sanctuary in a church. But, as a manner of law enforcement ...
user avatar
  • 129k
50 votes
Accepted

Can a policeman have his service weapon on him in a building that does not allow guns?

A follow-up story appears on the local ABC television station, indicating that the security guard pleaded no contest to simple assault. The fact that the security guard was convicted of a misdemeanor ...
user avatar
47 votes
Accepted

Can a Resident Assistant be told to ignore a lawful order?'

There is a state law that requires you to obey the police: ORC 2917.13, which says you may not Fail to obey the lawful order of any law enforcement officer engaged in the law enforcement officer'...
user avatar
  • 156k
44 votes

Can an officer wipe snow off a windshield to verify a registration or parking permit?

Yes, police are allowed to touch your car or wipe snow off the windshield to view a parking permit. Indeed, if they just ticketed people because their permit could not be seen through the snow, there ...
user avatar
  • 156k
41 votes
Accepted

Is it illegal to carry someone else's ID or credit card?

I think the officer is probably lying, not just mistaken, but they are not required to always be truthful. In addition to the law against possessing ID with intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any ...
user avatar
  • 156k
41 votes
Accepted

Can I get reimbursed if police shot the window of my car during a standoff?

There is no legal obligation of the police or any of its officers to reimburse you. It comes within a police powers exception to the 5th Amendment obligation to provide compensation for takings. ...
user avatar
  • 129k
39 votes
Accepted

Stop, in the name of the law

In long ago English practice, the phrase used was "Stop in the name of the King". At one time this was, if I am not mistaken, required for a valid arrest. I am talking about a time hundreds ...
user avatar
  • 89.2k
37 votes

Can I booby-trap my property against police?

First off, you cannot booby trap your property, period. It is both illegal and tortious. But, as you noted, there are already questions/answers that deal with this issue. Sure enough, if the police ...
user avatar
  • 10.9k
36 votes
Accepted

I was racially abused at a public park. What legal actions can I take?

You should file a complaint with the police. If you complain to the police then they might do something. If you don't complain then they certainly won't. Are food trucks licensed? You might try ...
user avatar
36 votes

How can one reliably find out if there is an open UK arrest warrant or inquiry about them, without visiting a police station? Can police lie about it?

The role of the 101 call handlers is to assist with enquiries and to progress reports of non-emergency incidents - not deceive. They are not (usually) police officers do not (routinely) have access to ...
user avatar
  • 20.5k
35 votes

How can you tell if you have to follow a police officer's instructions?

First, you have to know your own rights. There are detailed laws that describe what police can do and how they are supposed to do it. Unfortunately, none of their duties include "informing citizens ...
user avatar
  • 19.8k
35 votes
Accepted

If the police search my vehicle or house without my consent, and they don't find anything, what recourse is there?

You can file a federal criminal complaint under 18 USC 242 - Deprivation of rights under color of law, or (most commonly) a civil claim under 42 USC 1983 for the violation of your civil rights. There ...
user avatar
  • 19.8k
35 votes

Traffic Accident. Defending myself (Canada)

Let's be quite brutal here. Inexperienced driver doesn't mean the driver made a mistake. Lots of friends in the car doesn't mean they interferred with his driving. Loud music in the car is totally ...
user avatar
  • 24.5k
32 votes

Is it illegal to carry someone else's ID or credit card?

Looking at Washington's Identity Theft statute RCW 9.35.020 No person may knowingly obtain, possess, use, or transfer a means of identification or financial information of another person, living or ...
user avatar
30 votes

If police come to my house with a warrant for my arrest, can they break in?

It depends on the type of warrant. Failure to pay a fine is not necessarily an arrestable offence. The Police Scotland Warrants Standard Operating Procedure (710 kB PDF) states: 5.3 Whilst there ...
user avatar
  • 1,905
29 votes
Accepted

Does a Good Samaritan law protect a person from murder charges if they kill someone who had been violently attacking a police officer?

Good Samaritan laws are not applicable to the facts Good Samaritan laws give a person civil immunity if they render aid in good faith and that aid turns out to do harm. For example, in a person ...
user avatar
  • 147k
26 votes

If my electronic devices are searched, can a police officer use my ideas?

Mere ideas are not, as others have said, protected by copyright. However, the police officer in such a situation may have a duty of confidentiality, particularly if s/he is informed that the contents ...
user avatar
  • 89.2k
25 votes

What obligation is there for police to find and arrest false 911 callers?

Does said police department have any obligation to ID, investigate and detain / arrest the false caller? No. See Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 US 748 (2005). Usually, police do investigate, but that ...
user avatar
  • 129k
24 votes
Accepted

Consent to searches: Who wins "my-word-against-yours?"

This is not a simple question. There are hundreds of page treatises on consent - explicit, implied, obtained by trickery, revoked, coerced by show, coerced by intimidation. If it ever was just a he ...
user avatar
  • 10.9k
23 votes
Accepted

Do police have a civil duty to do their job?

No. The police have no affirmative legally enforceable duty in the U.S., to the general public, or any particular person who invokes their assistance, to take action to enforce the law. The leading ...
user avatar
  • 129k
22 votes

Stop, in the name of the law

I have no idea about current legal requirements in English-speaking countries but just for illustration, the equivalent phrase is legally required by current Czech law (Act No. 273/2008 Coll., on the ...
user avatar
  • 321
21 votes

If the police search my vehicle or house without my consent, and they don't find anything, what recourse is there?

In the United States, the general way to challenge violations of your constitutional rights is a civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This broad statute allows anyone injured by such a violation to ...
user avatar
21 votes

Is a US (New York) police officer allowed to take your keys at a traffic stop?

The policeman ordered, right as he took a step out of his car "Turn it off!" - which is a lawful demand to prevent the biker from possibly kicking the gas and running. As the driver did not ...
user avatar
  • 13k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible