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What Are My Rights When Dealing With Police

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What Are My Rights With Police? (When Stopped for Police Questioning)

It can be most alarming to have a police officer show up unannounced at your doorstep. Though you might be taken aback, realize that you do not have to let the officer inside, unless he or she has a warrant. Though you have the right to remain silent, if you choose to speak to the police, simply step outside and close the door behind you, not leaving any room for the officers to scan the interior of your house.

If the officer does have a warrant, you are allowed to ask to see it. The warrant authorizes officers to enter the residence at the address listed on the document but should specify exactly where and what the officers are allowed to search for. Remember that even if the officers have a warrant, your right to remain silent continues, and you can choose not to answer any questions.

Know What To Say When Dealing With The Police

When encountering the police, it is important that you know your rights. Too many times, we forfeit our rights by volunteering information and allowing the police to go beyond what the law allows them to do. Remember, you have rights. Use them!

Answer the question below, and youll be given a script to follow.

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Police officers are people too, and you dont want to make them feel like they may be in danger. Be calm, and make sure your hands are visible. If you need to reach for something that the police officer cannot see, such as a wallet, purse, glove compartment, or under your seat, ask clearly to make your movements known.

Example 1:Officer, I would like to show you my identification. It is in my back pocket. With your permission, I would like to reach for it.

Example 2:

Officer, I need to reach into my glove compartment in order to show you my registration. Please let me know when you are ready, and I will slowly reach over and grab it for you.


Q: What If I Am Treated Badly By Law Enforcement Officers

A: Write down the officers badge number, name or other identifying information. You have a right to ask the officer for this information. Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers. If you are injured, seek medical attention and take pictures of the injuries as soon as you can. Call a lawyer or contact your local ACLU office. You should also make a complaint to the law enforcement office responsible for the treatment.

Also Check: How Can Be A Police Officer

You Can Do Everything Right And Still Have Your Rights Violated If That Happens Try To Stay Hopeful That A Court Of Law Will Uphold Your Rights

If you don’t consent to a search but a police officer does it anyway, Hollie says: don’t resist. That could lead to charges against you. “Save it for court. Save it for your advocate to argue that what the officers did was unlawful and unconstitutional.”

When asked how she remains hopeful at the end of the day, especially after a summer like the one we just saw, Hollie told us, “I think that this system gives you new and unfortunate reasons to not trust and to not hope. But if anything, I just can’t see myself doing the work that I do if I don’t have hope.”

Hollie says everyone in the U.S. is entitled to these constitutional rights. “And I think as long as we take hold of them and feel this sense of entitlement, then we can fight for these rights and assert them in meaningful ways.”

The podcast version of this story was produced by Audrey Nguyen. It was fact checked by Julia Wohl and edited by Meghan Keane. Legal review by Kimberly Sullivan.

We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823 with a greeting, your name, your phone number and a random life tip. Or send us an email at . It might appear in an upcoming episode.

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Correction Oct. 29, 2020

A previous version of this story stated that if an officer starts reading you your Miranda rights, you are being arrested. In fact, having your Miranda rights read to you does not necessarily indicate that you are being arrested.

Aif You Are Stopped In Your Car:

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  • Upon request, show the police your drivers license, registration, and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant. To protect yourself later, you should state that you do not consent to a search.
  • If youre suspected of drunk driving, you will be asked to take a breath-alcohol and coordination test. If you fail the tests, or if you refuse to take them, you will be arrested, your drivers license may be suspended, and your car may be taken away.
  • If you are arrested, your car will be subject to a search.
  • Also Check: How To File A Police Report For Stolen Wallet

    What To Do If You Are Stopped By Police In Oregon:

    • Stay calm and in control of your words, body language, and emotions. Anything you say or do can be used against you.
    • Do not argue with police or badmouth officers. If you complain or tell police they are wrong, do so in a non confrontational way that will not intensify the situation.
    • Keep your hands where police can see them.
    • Do not run.
    • Do not touch any police officer.
    • Do not resist physically even if you believe you are innocent.
  • You do not have to make any statements about the incident.
  • If arrested, ask for a lawyer immediately. Explaining your situation without a lawyer may harm your case.
  • You may ask for officers names, badge numbers, and business cards. Write these down along with patrol car numbers and remember physical descriptions.
  • You never have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, including your cell phone , car, or house. Consenting to a search can affect your rights in court.
  • Try to find witnesses and write down their names and phone numbers.
  • If injured, take photos of the injuries, but get medical attention first. Ask for copies of your medical treatment files.
  • Write down everything you remember as soon as possible after the encounter.
  • If Law Enforcement Comes To Your Home

    In general, the police need a search warrant issued by a judge to search your home for evidence of crime. If the police come to your home, you do not have to let them in unless they have a warrant.

    Even if the police have a warrant, you still have the right to remain silent. If you choose to speak to them, step outside, close the door, and speak with them outside.

    Read Also: Where To Buy Police Scanners

    How To Reduce Risk To Yourself

    • Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible.
    • Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way, and place your hands on the wheel. If youre in the passenger seat, put your hands on the dashboard.
    • Upon request, show police your drivers license, registration, and proof of insurance.
    • Avoid making sudden movements, and keep your hands where the officer can see them.

    The Role Of Police In New Zealand

    Know Your Rights When Dealing With Police
    • New Zealand Police is responsible for making sure New Zealand is a safe place to live and that everyone obeys the laws of this country.
    • Police staff are trained to help and protect everyone in New Zealand.
    • The main roles of police include preventing, investigating, solving and reducing crime and road crashes.
    • Police will not tolerate any crime against a person based on race. See our safety information about hate crime.
    • You are welcome and encouraged to approach police and talk with them or ask for help.
    • New Zealand Police officers do not normally carry guns. There are some exceptions such as police at international airports or special police groups known as the Armed Offenders Squad.
    • Most New Zealand Police wear a police uniform. However, some police officers including detectives do not wear a uniform . If you are approached or questioned by a police officer in plain clothes, they should be able to tell you what police station they come from and show you their police identification card.
    • Police works with many community groups, ethnic groups and government agencies to help make New Zealand a safe place to live, work and study.

    See also:

    Also Check: Do Police Know You Have Insurance

    Q: What Are Warrants And What Should I Make Sure They Say

    A: A warrant is a piece of paper signed by a judge giving law enforcement officers permission to enter a home or other building to do a search or make an arrest. A search warrant allows law enforcement officers to enter the place described in the warrant to look for and take items identified in the warrant. An arrest warrant allows law enforcement officers to take you into custody. An arrest warrant alone does not give law enforcement officers the right to search your home , and a search warrant alone does not give them the right to arrest you . A warrant must contain the judges name, your name and address, the date, place to be searched, a description of any items being searched for, and the name of the agency that is conducting the search or arrest. An arrest warrant that does not have your name on it may still be validly used for your arrest if it describes you with enough detail to identify you, and a search warrant that does not have your name on it may still be valid if it gives the correct address and description of the place the officers will be searching. However, the fact that a piece of paper says warrant on it does not always mean that it is an arrest or search warrant. A warrant of deportation/removal, for example, is a kind of administrative warrant and does not grant the same authority to enter a home or other building to do a search or make an arrest.

    Aif You Are Stopped For Questioning:

    • What you say to police officers is always important. Anything 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. You dont have to answer a police officers questions, but you must show your drivers license and proof of insurance when stopped in a car. In most other situations, Minnesota law does not make it a crime to refuse to identify yourself to a police officer unless they reasonably suspect you are involved in a crime. But use your judgment. Refusal could lead to your arrest even if unjustified.
    • Ask the police if you are under arrest. If you are being arrested you have a right to know why.
    • You dont have to consent to any search of yourself, your car or your house. If you do consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court. Police may pat-down your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. Dont physically resist, but make it clear that you dont consent to any further search. If the police say they have a search warrant, ask to see it.
    • Dont run away, interfere with, or obstruct the police, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. This could lead to your arrest.

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    If Police Immigration Or Fbi Agents Come To Your Home

    • You do not have to let them in unless they have certain kinds of warrants.
    • Ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to the window so you can inspect it.
    • A search warrant allows an officer to enter the address listed on the warrant, but officers can only search for the item listed in the location listed.
    • An arrest warrant allows an officer to enter the home of the person listed on the warrant if they believe the person is inside.
    • A warrant of removal or deportation does not allow officers to enter a home without consent.
  • Even if the officers have a warrant, you have the right to remain silent. If you choose to speak to the officers, step outside and close the door.
  • You Can Expect Us To:

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    • Uphold the laws of Jamaica firmly and fairly in accordance with our work
    • Be professional, impartial, fair, honest and reasonable in our dealings with you
    • Provide you with sound advice and timely information on which you can rely
    • Be accountable for our work and answerable for the outcomes within our control
    • Strive to satisfy citizens in a way that will exceed their expectations
    • Be analytical in problem solving and spare no effort in trying to solve problems and
    • Be prudent in all our dealings with a high level of transparency in our relationships with the public.

    The Constabulary aims to uphold and protect the human rights of all the people in Jamaica by providing a high quality, effective policing service in partnership with the community and in co-operation with other agencies.In carrying out our duties, members of the Constabulary shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force.We will only resort to the use of force if other means remain ineffective and there is no realistic promise of achieving the lawful objective without exposing police officers, or anyone whom it is their duty to protect, to a real risk of harm or injury.

    Read Also: How Many Blacks Were Killed By Police In 2016

    Q: Can I Be Detained While My Immigration Case Is Happening

    A: In many cases, you will be detained, but most people are eligible to be released on bond or other reporting conditions. If you are denied release after you are arrested for an immigra- tion violation, ask for a bond hearing before an immigration judge. In many cases, an immigration judge can order that you be released or that your bond be lowered.

    Police Powers To Stop And Search: Your Rights

    The police can stop and question you at any time – they can search you depending on the situation.

    A police community support officer must be in uniform when they stop and question you. A police officer doesnt always have to be in uniform but if theyre not wearing uniform they must show you their warrant card.

    The rules are different in Scotland.

    Also Check: Can You Make Police Report Online

    What Are My Basic Legal Rights If I Am Stopped By The Police In Public

    If you are approached by the police, try to stay calm and keep your hands where they are visible. It is typically in your best interest not to argue or resist, but remember that you still have rightsespecially the right to remain silent. While the police may require you to tell them your name , they may not legally require you to tell them about your immigration status, where youre traveling from, where youre going, or what youre doing. If you wish to exercise your right to remain silent, you must say so out loud. Even if youve done nothing wrong, remember that lying to the police is a crime, but remaining silent is not.

    This doesnt mean they wont ask questions. If you feel inclined to volunteer any information, perhaps in an effort to be helpful, you may do so. For example, you may have witnessed a robbery a few blocks away and want to help the officer track the suspect. However, youre not required to answer such questions and by doing so youre effectively waiving your rights.

    After you speak with the officer, ask whether youre free to go. If so, you may go your own way. If they say youre not free to go and either continue asking questions or detain you, again, stay calm. In many places, resisting arrest is a crime in itself. If you are placed under arrest, it is your right to know what you are being arrested for. You may ask them what crime you are accused of committing.

    What Are My Rights When Dealing With Police In Australia

    Know Your Rights When Dealing With the Police

    Your rights are the same across Australia when: Police ask for ID across Australia, you need to provide your name and address, if over 18. Under 18s can ask for an adult to be present. Police search you, your car or house they need reasonable grounds. Police ask to check your phones they need your consent.

    Also Check: How Do You Get A Copy Of A Police Report

    Aif You Are Stopped Questioned And/or Frisked:

  • Police may stop and briefly detain you only if there is reasonable suspicion that you committed, are committing, or are about to commit a crime.
  • You should ask if you are under arrest or free to leave.
  • In New York, you are not required to carry ID, and you dont have to show ID to a police officer. If you are issued a summons or arrested, however, and you refuse to produce ID or tell officers who you are, the police may detain you until you can be positively identified.
  • In New York City, if officers are investigating criminal activity, theyre required to identify themselves and let you know the reason for the interaction. If they dont arrest or ticket you, officers are required to give you a business card at the end of the encounter. Regardless of the circumstances, unless an officer is responding to an emergency situation, local law requires any officer to provide their identification and a business card upon request.
  • Dont bad-mouth a police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.
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