Know Your Rights When Dealing With the Police

BeeNee a
Know Your Rights When Dealing With the Police

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.

Know Your Rights When Dealing With the Police

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.

Know Your Rights When Dealing With the Police

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.

Know Your Rights When Dealing With the Police

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.

Know Your Rights When Dealing With the Police

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.

Know Your Rights When Dealing With the Police

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.

Know Your Rights When Dealing With the Police

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.

Know Your Rights When Dealing With the Police
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5Girl Opinion
19Guy Opinion

Most Helpful Guy

  • Waffles731
    Its ALWAYS a good idea if you are on a highway with no cars, around to ask to see the officers badge, people often impersonate policemen with the intent to do some truly awful things
    Like 8 People
    Is this still revelant?
    • BeeNee

      Very good point. Will add.

    • Zachie08

      Also, if you are on a dark empty street you can signal to a cop that you knowledge the head lights and go to a well life area. You don't have to stop in the middle of nowhere.

Most Helpful Girl

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • BlueCoyote
    And yet, when Philando Castille and his girlfriend were stopped by police officers in Minnesota, Castille did remain calm, did tell the officer right at the beginning of their conversation that he is the registered owner of a legally acquired weapon and that he is currently carrying that weapon with him in his car. He also placed his hands on the steering wheel where the officer could see them (it was during the day). When asked for his license, he told the officer that he would reach for his wallet because the license was in the wallet. When he did reach, the officer killed him with FOUR shots. Not one, not a warning shot. Four shots. Within less than two seconds. Castille's crime? He was black. People on this site keep telling me that all the things about African American discrimination are bullshit and untrue. I would like to hear a story of a legal owner of a firearm who was completely calm and cooperating with a police officer and was shot dead in two seconds because he reached for his wallet - and who was white.
    Disagree 1 Person
    • BeeNee

      This take is not about black and white. It's about knowing your rights which many people do not know. Discrimination, racism, corruption on police forces, profiling, etc. all exist, but not knowing your rights isn't going to help solve that problem. Unfortunately, you cannot prevent what others may do in a situation right in front of you, but you can do the best you can do to try and avoid being in a situation where you are harmed. Does that always work, no, but it's also unfair to say that just because one is black, every cop is going to treat them badly, or just because one is a cop, all cops treat people equal and fairly. Both statements are false, but gaining this knowledge helps you either personally, helps you help others, or can help you to know those rights, so you can fight against corruption on police forces because you or anyone else will have the knowledge to know that what was done to them was not normal or right.

    • BlueCoyote

      No, of course both of these two extreme statements aren't true. Of course there are decent cops. But unfortunately, it is true that when you're black in the US and you know your rights and duties, you will still get into trouble (or killed) at a much higher probability rate than if you are white and know you're rights and duties. Castille was no exception.
      I'm not saying people shouldn't inform themselves about their rights. Of course they should. It was just me being a little cynical. I find it extremely sad that black people in America can try as hard as they want to do everything right - if they meet the wrong cop, it can be their death warrant. That's simply not the case for white people. Think about that black 12-year old with the toy gun. The boy didn't even get the opportunity to do anything right (or wrong) because he was dead before he could realize what's going on. I find that tragic.

    • BeeNee

      I definitely agree with what you've said here. One of the saddest things aside from the repeated tragedies is that you have video evidence now of what has been said for years, and even with that, a lot of people still refuse to acknowledge that there is a difference in treatment.

  • Rawrzz
    Really great. If I get stopped at night, I always turn on the dome light and keep my hands either on the steering wheel, or if in a seedier part of town, on the roof of the car. Had a friend's uncle who was a cop say that not only will the police appreciate the understanding--which might get you out of a ticket--they will treat you with more respect.

    Fighting with police is one of the stupidest things you can do. Anyone who's played GTA knows this really well. Being argumentative just makes them want to take you down.

    Also, if the police come bursting around a corner with a shotgun pointed at you, you should probably do as they say and get on the ground even if you haven't done anything wrong. My friends and I happened to be in an apartment complex right when our dealer--who lived in apartment "911"--got raided. None of us had the inclination to stare down the shotgun barrel and get pissy with the cop, even with felonies in our pockets.

    Though, I think you might also have to tell police your name and address.
  • Saoirse_Nua
    Lots of good advice there - Different debate but I think we are lucky because our police are not armed - So the consequences of an outside stop are less serious - Great take and good notes
    Like 1 Person
    • BeeNee

      Thank you. Don't even get some people started about their rights to bear arms. Doesn't matter if kids are dying, police are killing them, people are shooting themselves or their own family members... they still think they are just the greatest things since modern medicine.

  • sedrftvgyhujik
    If your stopped on a road I'm guessing you can't call 911 to check there legit or you would get done for being on your phone even if the car was parked.
    Its quite know someone could potentially be impersonating an officer and stop you also that there are corrupted cops out there!
    Like 1 Person
  • redeyemindtricks
    Excellent take.

    I can't help asking what occasioned it -- in other words, why did you choose to write this particular take, right now? (obviously you don't have to say if you don't want to)
    Like 1 Person
  • KnightinDarkArmor
    If the police claim to have a warrant or claim they are authorized to conduct a search, tell them clearly that you do not consent to the search but do not hinder them from searching.

    If they want to search, even if you know they are wrong, don't stop them just tell them they do not have your consent. If you obstruct, you can be arrested for it or make the scenario worse.
    Like 1 Person
  • relaxrelax
    these are my laws what the government says means nothing to me
    LikeDisagree 7 People
    • Djaaaaaay

      Opinion owner. That's right.. !!

    • Rawrzz

      Funny that you say that, because I grew up with a concentrated Christian family. It seems you need to read your bible more often, if you deign to subscribe to its laws. For instance, Romans 13:

      Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

      2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

      3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

      4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

      5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

      Etc. The bible says to follow man's laws.

    • relaxrelax

      romans 13:3
      For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil

      you are wrong GOD says follow his law no matter who it is
      the government doesn't do that
      they are rulers of evil do you not see the gay colors at the white house
      they make up there own laws and its the truth they do

      example when a women and man divorce the women is not allowed to keep the child for herself unless she is under physical abuse

      it is considered kidnapping if she does so without cause
      the punishment is death

      Exodus 21:16
      Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper's possession.

      now then comes into play

      Exodus 20
      13 Thou shalt not kill.
      14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
      15 Thou shalt not steal.

      cause you can't expect to take a child or children away and expect ever guy
      to be okay with it lol

      I've studied this for 3 to 4 years this whole book is correct

    • Show All
  • ObscuredBeyond
    This is pretty good. I think I'll do a joke take on how to survive in the Camelorum universe when confronted by police.
    Like 1 Person
  • Kantana
    Like 1 Person
  • Dred1614returns
    I just comply. If I mouth off or disrespect the cops, they could make my life hell. I'd rather just have my day in court and clear things up. However, I wouldn't let cops into my home without a warrant.
    Like 1 Person
  • WhereAmI
    If your arrested for DUI, and you know your drunk, refuse a breathalyzer and a field sobriety test. Let them arrest you and take away your license for 6 months or whatever, you have much better chances of winning in court.
  • Puppylove94
    Great take. Many people in our society are not well informed on this stuff
    Like 2 People
  • Thrifty
    Don't ever talk to police!!!

    Say 'Am I free to go or am I being detained.'

    I arrested say 'I have nothing to say and I am represented by counsel.'
    Like 1 Person
  • Thisperson98
    I agree completely, if those people who were shot followed these instructions, they would still be alive.
    Like 1 Person
  • jman46241
    Yes this is great! Agreed, never talk back as police do have the right to temporarily detain. Not sure if this is nationwide, but i have seen ticket cases get a continuance because the officer didn't show up.. Unfair if you ask me. The consent to search also applies to any stop as well. Great Take! More people need to be informed of their rights against the bad apples in law enforcement. I wanted to add this video as well for anyone else that reads your Take..
    Like 1 Person
  • Derpdeder
    Just live in Somalia in my opinion
    • In Somalia, the "police" take a rocket launcher to your car and then salvage whatever survives the blast.

  • Anonymous
    In my run in with the cops, I keep walking. Unless they have a good excuse for stopping me I keep to myself. All they can do is ask for my time and if I am free to give it. If I say no then they should respect that. If they lock me up I will sue. I know my rights. They have no right to harass me.
  • Anonymous
    Comply and you won't die.
    Like 2 People
  • Anonymous
    If you see the pigs coming run for your life
    Disagree 1 Person
    • What pigs? Only time I see pigs is when I am at a farm.

    • Anonymous

      You know who I'm talking about

    • You are talking about farm animals.

    • Show All
  • Anonymous
    LikeDisagree 5 People
  • Anonymous
    I wish all police were held to the same code of conduct as citizens are.

    I have had my rights infringed upon (searching my property illegally), have been terrified of an officer yelling and screaming at me at a traffic stop when I had only been polite, been pulled over and asked "What are you doing here?" I had a friend who dated an officer who drove drunk all the time and another who pressured teen girls to take their clothes off when they were are parties.

    And I'm a nerdy white chick.

    Though most of my police interactions have been fine - some even positive such as when the officer let me sit in her car when I was rear ended on an icy day. I know some great people who are officers. These few bad incidents make me afraid each time I interact with the police, though... Because there is no way to know anyone is policing them.
  • Anonymous
    Know your rights or know your police force do to your mom being an attorney at the SAO. Or having an uncle being the sheriff.