What Constitutes a Stop or Seizure in Utah

Certain Utah Police Actions Constitute a Stop or Seize

When a person is seized, that is to say stopped by a Utah police officer for something like a marijuana possession, the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution is implicated. When is a person actually considered seized or stopped under the fourth amendment though? Not every personal interaction between Utah police and individuals is considered a seizure or stop. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that the fourth amendment is implicated when a police officer uses physical force or a show of authority to restrain an individual’s liberty so a reasonable suspicion is required for police to restrain liberty. Criminal defense lawyers protect this right.

The line between a stop and something less intrusive, such as an officer asking a person a question and the person is free to ignore the officer’s inquiry, separates situations in which the officer can act only with reasonable suspicion from those in which no justification is required because the fourth amendment does not come into play.

Seizure in Utah Measured by Objective Standard

The U.S. Supreme Court has established an objective standard when determining what is a stop or seizure of a person. They said, “A person has been seized within the meaning of the fourth amendment only if, in view of all the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave.” They described some examples of what might constitute a seizure or stop such as the presence of several police officers causing the defendant to feel threatened, an officer displaying a weapon, physical touching by the police on a suspect, or the use of language or tone of voice compelling the suspect to obey commands, questions, and orders.

Unfortunately, like most legal standards, the one constituting a stop or seizure is not as clear as it seems. For example, police did not violate the fourth amendment’s requirements of probable cause, reasonable suspicion, and a warrant when they searched a bus riders suitcase randomly. Because a court’s determination can swing either direction of what a stop or seizure is, it is important to have a criminal defense attorney to ensure probable cause, reasonable suspicion, or a warrant was required.

Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers Protect You During a Seizure

If you are seized by Utah police, never speak to a them about any incident without a criminal defense attorney present. A criminal defense lawyer from Salcido Law Firm will help protect you from saying anything incriminating. Call an attorney today at 801.618.1334 to protect your constitutional rights.

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