Stopped in a Public Place
If you are stopped in a public place by police officers for questioning, you must present a legal form of identification if asked. Whatever you do, don't run (seriously, what are you doing?!?), keep your hands where the officers can clearly see them, follow instructions, stay calm, and answer any questions politely. You have three options when it comes to being questioned: tell the truth or say you don't know in response to their questions, or remain silent. Lying, even little ones, may come back to bite you in the butt and may land you in jail unnecessarily. Just because you are innocent or do any of the three options, does mean you will be free to just walk away at will. You may however, ask if you are free to go, and if they say yes, just get up and silently walk away. If no, obviously remain where you are. Please don't back talk or start talking about how this was a waste of your time and you're no criminal...even if 100% of that is true. Just GO if you are allowed to, and continue to answer questions if you can't leave at the moment.
Stopped in your car
If police are behind you signaling you to pull over, do so. If you do not feel like you are in a safe area or it's at night, turn on your emergency hazard lights and slowly guide yourself and the officer to a safer location. Keep both hands on the wheel and and wait for the officer(s) to approach. The officer does not know if you are a good citizen or a criminal in the same way you don't know if they are just a cop doing their job or a corrupt one. Either way, for you, remain calm and follow the instructions of the officer(s). Ask for or make note of the officers badge/ID number and if for any reason you feel the officer is not indeed an actual police officer, dial 9-1-1 or non-emergency police number to confirm that they are officers.
You will be asked for driver's license, registration, and insurance, all of which you must legally provide. If at night it is a good idea to turn on your dome light or the officer may ask you to do so for their safety. At this point, especially if it's at night, it's a good idea to let the officer know what you're doing, before you do it. Don't just reach back quickly for your purse in the back seat or dive under your seat for your wallet. Officers may assume you are reaching for a weapon. It is important to note that you may know your wallet is there, but they don't know you from the next person, so just take it nice and slow.
If you're being ticketed, don't admit any wrong doing. This could be evidence, but on the same token, don't start a whole big fight about how you are innocent, even if you were. Now is not the time. Sign the ticket if given. This DOES NOT mean you are admitting guilt, it just means you are acknowledging that you are receiving the ticket. If you refuse to sign, they will write "refused" and still give you the ticket anyway. Either way, you may fight the charge in court. Many people get out of tickets simply because an officer doesn't show up to court, or they were indeed innocent, or equipment was outdated, etc.
The only way an officer may search your car is if a crime is clearly or has clearly been committed, they smell or see drugs for example, or you or someone in the car consents to a search.
Going To Jail
If you are being hauled off to jail, the officers have a right to pat you down for their protection to search for any weapons. Aside from this, you must consent to any further searches which you have a right to refuse. If you consent to further searches, any evidence found may come back to hurt you later. They also must read you your rights AND inform you of what you are being arrested for. You 100% have the right to remain silent and whether you did or did not do the crime, use this right, and immediately and repeatedly ask for a lawyer while remaining silent otherwise.
Please note that police vehicles, waiting rooms, detention centers, holding cells...all of them have cameras and are recording all that you do from the minute of arrest. If you're fighting officers and mouthing off or incriminating yourself in anyway, there is a good possibility the footage could be used. DO NOT believe any cop who tells you, "you can be honest with me, I'm going to turn off this camera." He or she may flip a switch or be dramatic about it, but those things remain on 100% of the time.
Officers cannot refuse your right to counsel. They may continue to ask you questions or try to pressure you, but once you ask for a lawyer, they must wait until one is assigned. Do NOT say anything after you've asked for a lawyer, other than that you are waiting on a lawyer (a free one will be assigned if you cannot afford one).
The reason whether innocent or guilty that you want to wait for a lawyer, is because just about anything you say can be seen as or made into something incriminating towards yourself, and of course if you're actually already guilty, well, you'll just be making their job much easier. A lawyer, even a mediocre one, can usually do something to help you IF you've actually remained silent, but once you start talking, it may be too late. While we're at it, Do not sign anything or make any decisions about what you're going to do without a lawyer present.
You do get one phone call. Do not use it to discuss your case. Cops may be listening and if you're admitting guilt or some part in the crime, it's evidence which as I've said, is being recorded all the time. Try to remember the names and badge numbers of all police officers involved in your arrest, along with the details of your arrest. If you are injured by police, go to an actual doctor/hospital, have pictures taken as soon as possible and documented of your injuries, and get copies of all treatment you received.
Police Are At Your Home or Business
You do not have to open up your home or business to the police. You have the right to speak to them through a closed door or not answer at all if you chose not to, with a couple of exceptions. The only reason you must allow police to enter or they may enter into your home or business without your consent is if police have a signed warrant by a judge, they are chasing someone into your home, someone in the home has already given them consent, or there is an emergency situation, i.e., someone is screaming inside or bleeding out on your carpet.
There are two types of warrants: arrest and search. An arrest warrant allows them to pick up the person listed. Make sure the police actually have the correct name on the warrant (sometimes they are simply at the wrong address). A search warrant allows officers to search any area of the home or business BUT those areas must be listed on the warrant. They have the right to seize anything that they find. Please be aware, even without your consent, that some cops might demand to come in and search or look around, etc. If this happens, ask to see police identification. Memorize and write down ID/badge numbers, and make certain you say loud and clear and repeatedly that you DO NOT consent to any searches of your person or property.