My clients bring every scenario in the book to me when I meet them. One of the most common is when my client is at someone else’s house for a party and the police show up. When you are at a party and the police have a valid warrant authorizing a search for contraband, they can legally detain occupants they find on the premises named in the warrant.

However, police may not unreasonably prolong the detention of someone who simply happens to be on the premises as a visitor. In a similar case, the defendant was in the bathroom when police entered with a warrant authorizing a search of the apartment. They prevented her from leaving and questioned her. The court held the detention of the defendant was not lawful. The reason? She did not live in the apartment, and officers did more than prevent her from leaving; they held and questioned her. In a similar case, the court decided that the defendant was seized unlawfully when officers were executing a warrant at the defendant’s brother’s house and, when the defendant pulled into the driveway and parked, officers surrounded the car and ordered the defendant to show his hands.

Police did not detain unreasonably a defendant on the scene of an attempted armed robbery in the defendant had some information about the crime, and police were justified in detaining him as a witness.

Purav Bhatt is a criminal defense attorney serving the Chicagoland area including Cook, Lake, DuPage and Will counties. If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense contact The Law Office of Purav Bhatt at 773-791-9682.