On average, police pull over about 20 million motorists a year, which means that there is a good chance that police will pull you over at some point.
But what do you do when you the police stop you in order to make sure that nothing goes wrong?
We’ll break down everything so you can finally know the answer to: “What are my rights?”
You Can Remain Silent
First off, you have the right to remain silent. You might think that talking more will help you get out of a bad situation, but it could end up hurting you later on.
The police will hold anything you say against you later in court if the stop escalates. That’s why it’s best to stay silent. You can even tell them that you’re exercising your right to stay silent.
However, depending on what state you live in, you might be required to at least identify yourself and give your name to them.
You Don’t Have to Consent to a Search
Unless the police have a warrant or probable cause, they can’t just come up and start searching through your belongings.
While they can’t do that, they can pat you down to make sure that you don’t have a weapon on you. This is for their safety. After a pat-down, an officer still may decide to search your belongings even if you don’t give consent.
Make sure that you verbalize that you don’t agree with it. Even if they still do it it could help you later on down the road in any legal proceedings.
What To Do If You’re Stopped
If you are stopped, there are some things you should do to make sure the situation doesn’t get any worse.
The most important thing to do is to remain calm. You might be scared or angry and be tempted to rant or yell at them, but make sure that you control yourself and don’t end up escalating the situation.
Even if you think the police are wrong about something, make sure that you don’t argue with them. This won’t help you now; you can save the arguing for later in court if you were wrongfully accused or searched.
Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure that the police can always see your hands. If they don’t see them, they may think that you’re reaching for a weapon, which could impact your safety. In regards to safety, also make sure that you never touch the police officer.
Lastly, don’t run. Even if you’re innocent, running will always make you look guilty. This will hurt your case in the future if you’re wrongfully accused of something. If you are guilty, it will also just make your situation even worse.
Rights You Have if Arrested
After you’ve stopped, the police may decide that they want to arrest you next. Whether you’re guilty of what they’re accusing you of, you also have rights then as well.
Right to Remain Silent
Just like when the police stopped you, you still have the right to stay silent when they arrest you. Only tell them your name and address, and then don’t speak again after that.
You might be tempted to try and tell your version of the story, but they could end up using this against you later on.
Don’t talk to them until you have a lawyer.
Right to Have a Lawyer
Speaking of, you also have the right to ask for a lawyer. Even if you don’t have a lawyer you would normally call, they can appoint one for you.
The police should help you with contacting the lawyer, and the lawyer will help you to figure out what you can tell the police.
Right to a Phone Call
After you’ve contacted a lawyer, you also have the right to call a friend or family member. You’ll be able to tell them what happened.
However, keep in mind that the police record these phone calls, so be careful of what you say because lawyers will use it against you later on.
What To Do If the Police Come to Your Home
If the police come to your home, you also have certain rights.
They can only enter your home if you give them permission or they have a warrant.
Even if they say they have a warrant, make sure that you ask them to see it first. Once you do see the warrant, check the address to make sure they have the right place.
What Happens if the Police Violated Your Rights?
While these are some of your rights, sometimes they are wrongfully violated. If this is the case, you’ll need to find a criminal defense attorney in order to figure out what steps you should take next.
In order to help the attorney, make sure you write down every little detail that could help in your case. This includes the officers’ names, badge numbers, and the license plates of their cars.
If there were any witnesses, make sure that you get their contact information so they can provide accounts that back up your story.
Learn More About: “What Are My Rights if Stopped By the Police?”
These are only a few things to know about: “What are my rights if stopped by the police?” but there are many more things you should know.
It’s important to educate yourself on the laws before you get stopped so that you won’t have to trust the police for their word.
However, we know that understanding the laws can be frustrating. That’s why we’re here to help you out! Make sure you explore our website to find more articles just like this one.
Rene Bennett is a graduate of New Jersey, where he played volleyball and annoyed a lot of professors. Now as Zobuz’s Editor, he enjoys writing about delicious BBQ, outrageous style trends and all things Buzz worthy.