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Lori, Research Analyst
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4131
Experience:  General Information and Online Research
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Can off duty officers detain someone

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Ok a co worker of mine who is 18 with no drivers liscencedid something dumb, but I still don't beleive the polilce had the rights to do what they did. My friend and 4 other young men jumped into a vehicle and was heading in to town. they were on a single lane road that did not support any shoulders, when they happened to get a flat tire. They pulled over as far as the could as to maintain a safe posistion off the road. while they were changing the tire they were visiting when a man came out of his home and began flashing his badge telling them that he was an off duty officer, and they were parked in his ditch changing that tire and he had police coming and he was charging them with trespassing. One of the passengers appeared to be slightly under the influence. he would not let the group of young men leave until the RCMP had arrived and used the fact that he was an officer to detain them. Once police were on scene it is then my understanding that the off duty cop began to search the vehicle. This just seems wrong to me. In the end they were given a few tickets the driver got a 24 hr suspension, failure to produce insurance, and failure to produce registration, and I believe a driving without a valid license( He had a learners on him, and they were lisenced drivers in the vehicle, but they still had restirctions on their liscence). How ever did the off duty policeman have the right to detain this group of young men to begin with? Or were they arbitrarily detained? If they were; would they be able to fight the ticket charges as well.
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Lori replied 10 years ago.
Actually, you would need to check the laws in your state, but in many states police have the right to detain anyone they have reasonable belief may be involved in an illegal activity. If he went out to see if he could assist with a problem and smelled alcohol, he may have felt completely in the right detaining the group until the police arrived. Remember, you are hearing one side of the story and although it may be totally true, a judge will listen to both sides. If the officer was in the wrong, any evidence obtained would not be allowed in court. Your friend needs to contact an attorney for legal advice. In the state I live in (KY), ANY citizen can detain someone they feel is under the influence of alcohol until police arrive. Each state has it's own laws.
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