Does a cop have the right to come up and question you if you are sitting in a parking lot parked?

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Does a cop have the right to come up and question you if you are sitting in a parking lot parked?

I had just got out of work and was sitting in my car when a cop came up and blocked me in so I couldn’t pull out. He came up to my car and started questioning me even though I did nothing wrong. When I rolled down my window, he said that he smelled something and searched me and my car and found paraphernalia in the trunk, so arrested me. Now I have to go to court next week.

Asked on October 10, 2016 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

I'm afraid there is no clear-cut answer to your question. If a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that a person is engaged in some kind of illegal activity, he can question them (i.e. ask for ID). If in the course of doing so, they find evidence of a crime then the officer can effecuate an arrest. It all comes down to whether or not his suspicion was reasonable. At this point, you should consult directly with a local criminal law attorney; they can best advise you further.


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