December 9, 2023
The current economic climate is causing experts to predict a variety of things – one of which is crime.
The impact of COVID-19 is far-reaching, and Denver police are preparing for an uptick in crime related to the economic downturn. In fact, they’re studying data from the last major recessions for clues as to what can be expected. However, this time they have something new to contend with: policing reforms.
No matter the reforms on the table, one thing is for certain – police will be on the lookout for increased crime. That could mean more stops by police officers in the community.
Here’s what you need to know about police reforms and what your rights are if you are stopped by police.
What Are Your Rights at a Colorado Police Stop?
Hopefully, police reforms will help to keep officers accountable for their behavior, but that’s only one part of the puzzle. It’s important for citizens to also know their rights — especially their rights when interacting with the police.
According to the ACLU, these are your rights when stopped by law enforcement:
- Miranda Rights provide you with the right to remain silent, but if you want to invoke that right, then you must make that known by speaking it.
- You do not have to let police search your person, your car, or you home unless they have a warrant or a reasonable suspicion that you were involved in the commission of a crime — they cannot search you simply for looking suspicious.
- You have the right to calmly leave if you are not under arrest, so make sure to ask directly if you are under arrest or not.
- If you are under arrest, then you have the right for an attorney to represent you. It’s a good idea to ask for this right away if you are being placed under arrest.
- If you are stopped in your car, make sure you have your license, registration, and insurance card available.
If You Are Arrested By Denver Police
Even if you are being arrested, you still have rights. The officer who is placing you under arrest must inform you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. You should only answer very basic questions when being arrested as not to incriminate yourself. These questions include things such as your name, date of birth, and address.
It’s important to understand that no matter what they tell you, you absolutely do not have to answer any questions without a lawyer present — even after you’ve been placed under arrest.
If you are treated unfairly by officers during or after the arrest, then make sure to have any identifying information of the officer given to you. You have the right to ask for the officer’s badge number and name. Also make sure to seek medical help if you are injured by an officer.
Police Reform Changes Are for the Better
The new law that is anticipated to be passed and signed by Colorado’s governor, Colorado Senate Bill 217, requires police body cameras — as well as the release of footage on body cameras — within 45 days. Plus, officers can be held personally liable for violations of civil rights.
These changes, in conjunction with a more educated community who fully knows their rights, will hopefully make everyone safer, and the excessive force officers have previously used a thing of the past.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.