Legal Rights During a Gun Investigation in Maryland

Knowing one’s legal rights is extremely important, especially if an individual is in the process of being arrested by a police officer for a crime. Someone who has been apprehended or is under criminal investigation for an illegal activity that involves a firearm should understand that the charge, as well as the penalties that will follow if he or she is convicted, can be quite damaging. In many cases, an individual can make matters worse by not understanding their rights once they’ve been arrested and taken into police custody. The right to remain silent, as well as the right to an attorney, are two of the most crucial rights that an individual has and should utilize once they’ve been read their Miranda Rights.

Oftentimes someone will choose to speak to officers while under investigation or being arrested in an effort to defend themselves, but the decision to do so never works in their favor. He or she should remain silent and contact an experienced gun lawyer who can provide them with the legal counsel necessary to defend themselves against law enforcement and prosecution. It is never a good idea to speak to law enforcement without the presence of an attorney because despite what an individual who has been charged says to defend themselves, everything they say will be used against them in court. When this happens, it makes the job of a lawyer quite difficult when building a defense for their client.

Vehicle Searches

When police officers make the decision to search someone’s motor vehicle during an investigation, often times the individual whose property is being searched isn’t aware of their legal rights. There are three scenarios that would make the process of doing so legally acceptable, and they are:

  • If police officers have a Warrant; police officers must file an application and have it reviewed by a judge.
  • If police officers conduct a Search Incident to Arrest; if police officers arrest someone and they believe that there may be evidence of the crime inside the individuals’ vehicle, they can make a search and they will have a warrant because of that.
  • If police officers conduct an Inventory Search; police officers can catalog the items in the car to ensure that what they found was well recorded; this is done so that there is no allegation of destruction of the car or that anything was stolen. If they find a gun while cataloging items, it becomes a legitimate search even though it is not really a search in that context.
  • If police officers have probable cause to believe that there was a weapon or other evidence of criminal activity in the car, they can search that automobile.

Inspecting An Individual For A Firearm

The most rudimentary method of investigation led by law enforcement is the inspection of an individual who is suspected of an illegal activity. They do not have the right to violate his or hers rights, but if they have a reason to believe that an individual is carrying a weapon, they can inspect them for a firearm. There are various police encounters that can occur when they apprehend an individual suspected of participating in illegal activity, which include:

  • An accosting; the individual’s freedom to leave has not been restricted, and police officers do not have the right to search them.
  • An arrest; officers have the right to search an individual after they have been arrested, placed in handcuffs and detained.
  • A “Terry stop”, also known as a stop and frisk; when police have “articulable suspicion”, they have the right to pat down an individual for their own protection and safety.