KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHEN DEALING WITH THE POLICE

Be polite and respectful. Never bad-mouth a police officer.  Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and emotions. Don’t get into an argument with the police. Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you. Keep your hands where the police can see them. Don’t run. Don’t touch any police officer. Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent. Don’t complain on the scene or tell the police they’re wrong or that you’re going to file a complaint. Do not make any statements regarding the incident. Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest. Remember officer’s badge & patrol car numbers. Write down everything you remember ASAP. Try to find witnesses & their names & phone numbers. If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first. If you feel that your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with the police department’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board and send a copy to the A.C.M.C.

  1. What you say to the police is always important. What you say can be used against you, and it can give the police an excuse to arrest you, especially if you bad-mouth a police officer.
  2. You do not have to answer a police officer’s questions, but you must show your driver’s license and registration when stopped in a car. In other situations, you can’t legally be arrested for not identifying yourself to a police officer.
  3. You don’t have to consent to any search of yourself, your car or your house. If you DO consent to a search, it can affect your fights later in court.  If the police say they have a search warrant, ASK TO SEE IT.
  4. Do not interfere with, or obstruct the police – you can be arrested for it. As of Jan. 1, 2016 you can legally film a police officer in the line of duty as long as you do not trespass and get in the way and are filming from an audible distance (you can hear the officer speak). 

IF YOU ARE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR

  1. Upon request, show them your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant as long as the police have probable cause. To protect yourself later, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.
  2. If you’re given a ticket, you should sign it; otherwise you can be arrested. You can always fight the case in court later.  If you’re suspected of drunk driver (DWI) and refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test, your driver’s license may be suspended. 

IF YOU ARE STOPPED FOR QUESTIONING

  1. It’s not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but refusing to answer can make the police suspicious about you. You can’t be arrested merely for refusing to identify yourself on the street.
  2. Police may “pat-down” your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. Don’t physically resist, but make it clear that you don’t consent to any further search.
  3. Ask if you are under arrest. If you, you have a right to know why.
  4. Don’t bad mouth the police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest. 

IN YOUR HOME

  1. If the police knock and ask to enter your home, you don’t have to admit them unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.
  2. However, in some emergency situations (like when a person is screaming for help inside, or when the police are chasing someone) officers are allowed to enter and search your home without a warrant.
  3. If you are arrested, the police can search you and the area close by. If you are in a building, “close by” usually means just the room you are in.  We all recognize the need for effective law enforcement but we should also understand our own rights and responsibilities – especially in our relationships with the police.  If your rights are violated, don’t try to deal with the situation at the scene.  You can discuss the matter with an attorney afterwards, or file a complaint with the Internal Affairs or Civilian Complaint Board. 

IF YOU ARE ARRESTED AND TAKEN TO A POLICE STATION

  1. You have the right to remain silent and to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Tell the police nothing except your name and address.  Don’t give any explanations, excuses or stories.  You can make your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is best.
  2. Ask to see a lawyer immediately. If you can’t pay for a lawyer, you have a right to a free one, and should ask the police how the lawyer can be contacted.  Don’t say anything without a lawyer. 
  3. Within a reasonable time after your arrest, or booking, you have the right to make a local phone call: to a lawyer, bail bondsman, a relative or any other person.
  4. Sometimes you can be released without bail, or have bail lowered. Have your lawyer ask the judge on the next court day after arrest.
  5. Do not make any decisions in your case until you have talked with a lawyer. 

Assertion of Rights

Officer, please understand:

I have the right to have an attorney present if you want to question me or conduct any search of my body or personal effects.  I am not giving my consent to any type of search.

If I am under arrest, I wish to invoke and exercise my Miranda rights.  I want to speak with an attorney now.  I do not want my personal property impounded, nor do I consent to any impoundment.  I request the opportunity to secure my personal effects.

If I am not under arrest, please tell me immediately so that I may leave.

 

(Information provided by A.I.M.)

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