Street encounters with police occur with varying degrees of coercion. An encounter with police is best understood by breaking it down into three categories:

By: Wallin & Klarich

(1) Where a citizen feels “free to leave” and terminate the encounter at will. Here, there has been no “detention” under the law. This falls outside the scope of Fourth Amendment protections prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures of a person, their home, papers, and effects;

(2) Brief “seizures”, which triggers Fourth Amendment protections and also allows police more authority if acting with reasonable, specific, and articulable suspicion;

(3) Arrests. An arrest must be supported by probable cause. To know and protect your constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, you must understand the meaning of “probable cause” and being “under arrest,” and their relationship to the facts of your case.

For further details on whether your Fourth Amendment rights have been violated by police or any other criminal defense related inquiry, contact the law firm of Wallin & Klarich, the preeminent criminal defense firm in Southern California. Selection of the right law firm can often make the difference between jail and freedom in a criminal case. Feel free to contact Wallin and Klarich 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 888-749-0034 to discuss your case. Visit us at

Posted In: Search and Seizure Law