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Offhanded Admission Leads To Arrest

A Port St. Lucie mother is facing multiple charges after she allegedly took her teenage daughter to a local park for the purpose of physically assaulting a cyber-bully.

According to an arrest affidavit, the 52-year-old woman contacted police in late March, complaining that her 15-year-old daughter was receiving unwanted and aggressive text messages from a 16-year-old classmate; the police responded by leaving a message on the alleged cyber-bully’s cellphone. When officers called the woman a few days later to follow-up, she responded that “she took care of them problem,” according to the affidavit. A subsequent investigation revealed that the woman took her daughter to a local park to confront the classmate; a video shows the woman encouraging her daughter to fight, using foul language, and pushing the classmate.

The woman was charged with two counts of child abuse, one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and one count of disturbing the peace; she was released after posting bond.

Interacting with Police Officers

At one time or another, almost everyone must interact with a police officer, whether it be as a crime witness, a crime victim, at a traffic stop, or during questioning by a police officer or grand jury. The Miranda rights (e.g. “you have the right to remain silent”) only apply when a person is in police custody. Noncustodial encounters generally fall under the purview of consent interrogations and searches.

In most cases, you have the right to refuse consent for a search of your person. The biggest exception is that officers may conduct a brief pat-down search to look for weapons if they reasonably believe that such an intrusion is warranted. These Terry stops may be conducted even if the officer lacks probable cause for arrest.

The same right applies to property searches if the person is not under arrest. Officers must have a warrant, unless the search falls into recognized exceptions, such as items in plain view or automobile searches based on probable cause.

Finally, you have the right to refuse to answer questions. Note that, in the above story, the woman probably would not have been prosecuted if she had not made a statement to police officers. The right to withhold consensual answers does not confer the right to antagonize peace officers. When you have any encounter with law enforcement, it is best to comply with requests like “license and registration please,” politely refuse to answer questions, and contact an attorney.

Partner with Assertive Attorneys

Citizens’ rights are guaranteed by the United States Constitution. For a confidential consultation with a Port St. Lucie attorney who stands up for your rights, contact Eighmie Law Office, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.

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