Interacting With a Police Officer
When you interact with a police officer, be calm and polite, and remember your following rights:
- You have the right to remain silent. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. So tell the officer that you wish to remain silent. Do not lie or give fake documents.
- You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car, or your home. Do not argue with or obstruct the officer if the latter decides to search.
- If you are not under arrest, you have the right to leave. Ask the officer if you are free to go, and if the officer says yes, calmly walk away.
- If you are arrested, you also have the right to a lawyer. Tell the officer that you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer. Do not say anything, sign anything, or make any decision without a lawyer. Do not resist arrest, even if you believe the arrest is unlawful or unfair.
- Even if you are not a United States citizen, you have constitutional rights.
If You Are Stopped In Your Car
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.
Upon request, show your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
Both a driver and a passenger have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, sit silently or calmly leave. Even if the officer says no, you have the right to remain silent.
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.
Special considerations for non-citizens
- Discuss your immigration status with only your lawyer.
- Ask your lawyer about the effects of the potential outcomes of your criminal case on your immigration status.
- If an immigration agent questions you while you are in jail, do not say anything, sign anything, or make any decision until you talk with your lawyer.