Frequently Asked Questions
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Yes, they can! Besides investigating criminal activity, police officers engage in "community caretaking" functions. If you are under 18, and the officer believes that you are on a path that will lead to criminal, delinquent, or just risky behavior, the officer must inform your parent.
If you are over 18, you are no longer a minor, and they have no authority to call your parents unless you ask them to. You are an adult and responsible for your actions.
An officer may conduct a non-consensual search. This would be based on an officer’s observation that you have responded in a way to make the officer believe that you have or are about to be engaged in a criminal act.
Police officers in plainclothes must identify themselves when exercising their authority as an officer. However, they are not required to identify themselves on demand and may lie about their status as a police officer in some situations.
A search of your pockets, back- pack or jacket can occur on the street. But once they start to ask you to remove clothing, this is considered a strip search. This has to be done at a police station, juvenile hall or county jail. Under the law, male or female officers can pat down or conduct an outer search of males.
It's generally not illegal to curse a police officer. The issue has been litigated in courts, but there are some exceptions to the rule. Although the courts noted that the words may be disrespectful, discourteous, and annoying, they are nonetheless constitutionally protected.
Police officers are trained to be professional, courteous, and respectful at all times. Freedom of speech is protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Thus, non-threatening verbal "abuse" of a police officer is not in itself criminal behavior. But, some courts have disagreed on what constitutes protected speech in this regard.
If you are not sure that the vehicle performing the traffic stop is a police car, you should drive slowly and carefully, to a well-lit and populated location. You may contact 9-1-1 and remain on the line until the officer’s identity is verified.
You don’t want to keep driving and have the officer think you’re ignoring him or trying to “make a run for it.”
Refusing to assist a police officer is an offence in most states and jurisdictions around the world. Some jurisdictions use the terminology '"refusing to aid a police officer" or "failure to aid a police officer". Click here to check the law in your state.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this course not intended to be consider legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice.