Does a cop have to identify himself before opening your car door and confronting you?

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Does a cop have to identify himself before opening your car door and confronting you?

I was parked in my car at a landing one night during flood weather. I thought I was gated in at landing and couldn’t leave. Was smoking marjuana in car, windows up lights off pouring rain low visibility. Officer crawled up along side of car and opened my door with no warning and started screaming at me and my boyfriend to put our hands up where we could see them. I didn’t know that it was an officer at first and thought we were about to become victims of a crime.

Asked on October 5, 2012 under Criminal Law, Maine

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The only real question is whether the police officer had probable cause to search your car--if he did, any evidence of drugs (e.g. the marijuana) can be admitted against you. If either (1) the fact that you were smoking marijuana was visible from outside, or (2) if  you were in an area in which you had no legitimate business and lawfully could not be were true, the office most likely had probable cause for a search.

 


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