Know Your Rights

1) Keep Personal Items Out of Plain View
Always keep private items that you don’t want others to see hidden from plain view. Police do not need a search warrant in order to confiscate any illegal items that are in plain view.

2) When Stopped By Police, Be Courteous But Don’t Give Away Your Rights
When stopped by police, do not apologize because your words can be considered an admission of guilt and could be used against you in court. Don’t make the matter worse and give your identification if it’s requested. Be respectful and non-antagonistic. Refer to the police as “Sir,” “Ma’am,” or “Officer.” Always keep your cool because the situation can quickly escalate downhill if you don’t. If the officer writes you a ticket, don’t say anything and leave immediately as you are free to go. After you leave, contact a lawyer. If you are pulled over in a car, the first thing you should to do is turn your car off, turn the dome light on (if it’s nighttime), roll down the window, and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Don’t immediately reach into your glove compartment for your license and registration. Officers want to be able to see your hands for their own safety. Wait until the officer asks to see your paperwork before retrieving your documents.

3) Never Allow or Consent to Police Searching Your Car
If a police officer asks your permission to search, the answer is a/ways no. You should refuse to consent by saying, “I respectfully do not consent to you searching my car or my private property.” Remember that you have no legal obligation to consent. If police ask for your consent, it’s because they don’t have enough evidence or probable cause to search without it. The biggest mistake you could make is to consent to a search. If you do, you have just given up your Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Police officers never inform you of your rights before asking you to consent to a search. In fact, they are not required to. If the officer searches your person or property without your consent or you’re your objection, your attorney can argue to suppress any evidence found during the search and have the case dismissed.

4) Ask the Officer If You Are Free To Leave
If the officer says yes, then leave the area immediately and obey all laws as you do so. You have the right to terminate a police encounter unless you are being detained or in police custody or have been arrested. You do not have to answer any questions that the police ask you. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you against self-incrimination. In other words, you are not required to answer questions which could get you arrested or convicted.

5) Do Not Answer Questions, Remain Silent and Contact an Attorney
Do not answer any questions without your lawyer being present. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you. Assume that everything you say and do is being recorded on audio and video. If you find yourself in a bad situation with police, you should ask to speak with a lawyer, remain silent and do not answer any questions.

6) Don’t Be Confused; The Police Are Not Your Friends
Do not believe the police when they say talking with them will make things easier on you. It’s not true. In my experience, the biggest mistake you can make is talking to the police. Don’t let your own statements bury you and don’t let the police trick you into thinking they are your friend. If you talk, your statements will be used to convict youAsk to speak with a lawyer, and remain silent. Remain silent and ask for a lawyer.

7) Do Not Resist; It Only Makes Things Worse
No matter what, do not resist the police if they arrest you. It will only add fuel to the fire and put you in a worse situation. The best thing you can do is remain silent, put your hands behind your back, do not resist, and contact a lawyer. If you do that, the police won’t have an axe to grind with you.

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