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Can you run from the Cops in Georgia if you have done nothing wrong?

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) [4] .  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

Atlanta DUI | DUI Attorney Atlanta