The law is a fluid concept--it continues to ebb and flow. The relationship between the police and citizenry continues to ebb and flow. However, as far as the law is concerned, there are different categories of police and citizen interaction that have not changed for years. The reason for this is that not every encounter between the police and citizens implicate Fourth Amendment There is a hiearchy of interaction:
(1) Consensual encounters;
(2) Investigative detentions; and
A consensual encounter is defined by the courts as an encounter where the citizen is free to terminate the encounter at any time. Because the citizen is considered to be under no obligation to continue the encounter, or rather, terminate the encounter, this type of interaction does not implicate or "trigger" Fourth Amendment protection. An example of this type of encounter is when an officer approaches a citizend in a public place to ask questions. The citizen is willing to listen and to voluntarily answer questions by the police.
In this type of encounter there is no Fourth Amendment protection. If you have been charged with
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