If police stop or question you for any reason, whether you’re in a car, walking in public, at home, or attending an event, you should be aware of your rights.
- You have the right to remain silent. This is true whether the officer advises you of this right or not. Anything you say to a police officer can be used against you, so be careful how you answer questions, if you choose to do so.
- You have a right to know whether you are being detained or arrested. You can ask whether you are free to go, and why you are being stopped, questioned, detained, or arrested.
- You do not have to agree to a search of your body, personal belongings, home, or car. If an officer asks whether it is ok for them to search, you can say “no.”
- There are circumstances under which an officer can conduct a search without a warrant. Do ask whether they have a warrant, and whether you can see it.
- You do not have the right to physically interfere with an officer doing their job – even if you believe what they are doing is unconstitutional or illegal. You will need to rely on remedies later, such as suppression of evidence or a civil lawsuit.
- You have the right to legal representation. If you are a suspect, we recommend that you exercise this right promptly.
You are likely to have the best outcome if you remain calm and respectful, while politely asserting your rights to remain silent, to be free from warrantless searches, and to consult an attorney. If you are arrested, or if you are suspected of having committed a crime, you have the right to legal representation, and we are here to help.