Know Your Rights: A citizen’s guide to dealing with police.
What to do and what not to do when you are pulled over:
If you are stopped by the police:
- You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
- You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
- If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
- You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.
- Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have Constitutional rights. Use them.
- Do stay calm, and be as polite and respectful as possible.
- Do not interfere with or obstruct the police in any way (this could get you arrested or result in jail time).
- Do not lie or give false documents.
- Do prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.
- Do remember the details of the encounter, the more the better.
- Do file a written complaint or call your local ACLU if you feel your rights have been violated. You can also ask to speak to the officer’s on-duty supervisor.
IF YOU ARE STOPPED FOR QUESTIONING:
- Stay calm.
- Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away. If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why. You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions.
- If you wish to remain silent, tell the officer out loud. In some states, you must give your name if asked to identify yourself. Be sure to check your state and county laws in order to find out what you can and cannot do in that regard.
- You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may “pat down” your clothing if they suspect a weapon. You should not physically resist or respond in a hostile manner, but you have the right to refuse consent for any further search. If you do consent, it can affect you later in court.
IF YOU ARE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR:
- Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open just far enough to speak with the officer and place your hands on the steering wheel in clear view.
- Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible.
- Upon request, show police your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. If you have to reach into your glove box and the officer is clearly either agitated or suspicious, declare what you are going to do before you do it in order to make them more comfortable and make it clear you are not reaching for a weapon.
- If an officer or immigration agent asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search. However, if the police believe that your car has evidence of a crime inside of it, your vehicle can (and likely will) be searched without your consent.
- Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. Do not be intimidated by typical police tactics such as saying, “If you have nothing to hide, why won’t you talk with us?” or “Not talking makes you look guilty.”
MAKE SURE YOU WRITE DOWN THE FOLLOWING:
- Time and place of traffic stop
- The officer’s name and/or badge number
- The officer’s car number
- The events that transpired, again you will not regret including as many details as possible as this could very well save you in court.
Above all, if you are not hostile and antagonistic towards officers, chances are they will treat you with respect. Unfortunately, that is obviously not the case with all officers, or else we wouldn’t constantly be covering incidents of police brutality and misconduct. However, you can’t hurt yourself by treating an officer with respect while very little good can come from treating an officer poorly when you are pulled over, questioned, or arrested.Source: Endthelie.com
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- isthatthetruth said: This is awesome because I was just thinking about this the other day. I’ve never had to deal with a cop before (cousin excluded).
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