Yes, you can run if you have done nothing criminally wrong. Police must be able to articulate a crime that you are committing or have committed to stop and question. If they then can not, then it is a first tier encounter and you are free to ignore, walk away or run -even if you are on probation.
1. Nervousness: “[N]ervousness … is insufficient to justify an investigative [second-tier] detention.” Dominguez v. State, 310 Ga. App. 370, 375 (714 SE2d 25) (2011).
2. Presence in a high crime area: Mere presence in an area of suspected crime [was] not enough to support a reasonable, particularized suspicion that [he] was committing a crime. Ewumi v. State, 315 Ga. App. 656, 661 (1) (727 SE2d 257) (2012).
3. Suspiciousness: An officer’s feeling that [Smith was] acting in a suspicious way [did] not amount to a particularized and objective basis for suspecting him of criminal activity. Ewumi v. State, 315 Ga. App. 656, 661 (1) (727 SE2d 257) (2012)
The defining characteristic of a first-tier encounter is the right of the citizen to terminate that encounter — even by running. See Ewumi, 315 Ga. App. at 658 (1); Galindo-Eriza v. State, 306 Ga. App. 19, 22-23 (1) (701 SE2d 516) (2010). The evidence of simply running from a first-tier encounter cannot support a finding that he committed the offense of obstruction. Ewumi, 315 Ga. App. at 662-663 (1) (a)  . Even if you are on probation, you can run in the absence of articulable suspicion of criminal activity. Wright v. State, 297 Ga. App. 813, 816-817 (678 SE2d 506) (2009); Smith v. State, 327 Ga. App. 224 (2014). Caveat: Just because the case law is on your side doesn’t mean the police won’t arrest you. You may still have to hire a lawyer, go to trial or even file an appeal to reverse a conviction. Further, the law is constantly developing. Appeals courts issue new opinions daily so what is the law today maybe interpreted differently tomorrow.
-Author: George Creal