Know Your Rights When Dealing With The Police
A GUIDE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ENCOUNTERS
Provided by The Law Offices of Richard M. Lester & Associates.
The Law Offices of Richard M. Lester & Associates have been Aiding Injured Motorcyclists since 1983.
- Be polite and respectful.
- Never bad-mouth an officer of the law.
- 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 the police officer.
- Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent.
- Don’t complain on the scene or tell the police they are wrong or that you are going to file a complaint.
- Do not make any statements regarding the incident.
- Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.
- Remember the officer’s badge and patrol car numbers.
- Write down everything you remember ASAP.
- Try to find witnesses and get their name, address and phone number.
- If you are injured, take a photograph of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.
- If you feel 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.
- Fill out a Stop Traffic form provided by the MMA, Go Here for form and instructions!
If you feel 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.
REMEMBER THESE IMPORTANT FACTS
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 are disrespectful or bad-mouth the police officer.
2. You DON’T have to answer the police officer’s questions, but you MUST show your driver’s license and registration (and in some states proof of insurance) when stopped in a car or motorcycle. In other situations you can’t legally be arrested for refusing to identify 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 rights 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.
5. Fill out a Stop Traffic form provided by the MMA, Go Here for the form and instructions!
IF YOU ARE ARRESTED OR TAKEN TO A POLICE STATION
* You have the right to remain silent and to speak to a lawyer BEFORE you talk to the police. Tell the police NOTHING except your name and address. Don’t give any explanation, excuses or stories. You can make your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is best.
* Ask to see a lawyer immediately. If you can’t pay for a lawyer, you have the right to a free one, and should ask the police how the lawyer can be contacted. DON’T SAY ANYTHING WITHOUT A LAWYER.
* Within a reasonable time after your arrest, or booking, you have the right to make a local phone call: to a lawyer, a bail bondsman, a relative or any other person.
* Sometimes you can be released without bail, or have bail lowered. Have your lawyer ask the judge on the next court date after the arrest.
* Do NOT make any decisions about your case until you have talked with a lawyer.
IF THE POLICE COME TO YOUR HOME
* 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.
* However, in some emergency situations (like if someone is screaming for help inside or the police are chasing someone) officers are allowed to enter and search your home without a warrant.
* If you are arrested, the police can search you and the area close by. If you re 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. Everyone (including minors) has the right to courteous and respectful police treatment. 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 STOPPED FOR QUESTIONING
* It is 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.
* Police may “pat-down” your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. DO NOT physically resist, but make it clear that you don’t consent to any further search.
* Ask if you are under arrest. If you are, you have a right to know why.
* 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.
* Fill out a Stop Traffic form provided by the MMA, Go Here for the form and instructions!
IF YOU ARE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR
* Upon request, show the police your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a search 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.
* 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 are suspected of drunk driving (DUI/DWI) and refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test, your driver’s license may be suspended.
WHAT TO SAY TO THE POLICE TO ASSERT YOUR 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 to 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 I may leave.
IF YOU NEED THE ASSISTANCE OF AN ATTORNEY DUE TO AN ENCOUNTER WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT OR BECAUSE OF INJURIES SUSTAINED IN AN ACCIDENT, CALL THE LAW OFFICES OF Richard M. Lester & ASSOCIATES FOR A FREE CONSULTATION TODAY.
Toll Free/24 Hours