Being pulled over by the police is a tense situation that may rapidly turn disastrous. In this section, we explain what the law demands and give techniques for dealing with police interactions. We want to be quite clear: The burden of de-escalation lies on police personnel, not on individuals. You can be able to reduce the risk by remaining calm and not displaying animosity toward the police. However, you cannot trust that police will act in a way that safeguards your safety or respect your rights even after you state them. The fact is that there have been incidents in which people have done everything they could to put an officer at ease and nevertheless have been wounded or murdered.
Know Your Rights
You have the right of staying silent. You’re not required by law to answer questions regarding where you’re going, where you’re coming from, what you’re doing, or where you reside, for example. If you wanted to exercise the right to silence, point it out. However, you should note that it’s compulsory in most places to reveal your identity if requested by the officer.
You do not have to submit to a search of yourself or your items, but if police suspect a firearm, they may pat down your body. It is important to note that denying consent will not prevent the officer from conducting the search against your will, but raising a timely objection before or during the check will help protect your rights in any subsequent legal process.
If you are taken into custody, you have the right to counsel assigned by the state if you cannot afford one.
To ensure your safety:
- Maintain your composure.
- Don’t try to flee, resist, or hinder the cops.
- Do not tell lies or provide forged documents.
- Keep your hands visible to the cops.
- Don’t make any sudden movements, as the officer might think you’re reaching for a weapon.
If you are arrested or detained:
Indicate you want to remain silent and request an attorney as soon as possible. Make no explanations or apologies, as these are an indication of guilt. Without the advice of a lawyer, never say anything, sign anything, or make any choices.
You have the right to make a call if police have detained you. The police aren’t allowed to listen to your conversations with your attorney. They can, however, listen if you call anyone else.
If any of your rights were violated:
Note everything you recall, including police badges and police vehicle numbers, as well as the agency from which the officers came. Collect the contact information for any witnesses.
If you are harmed, get medical care right away and document your injuries.
Complain in writing to the agency’s internal affairs section or civilian complaint board. If you want, you may file a complaint anonymously in most circumstances.
Contact Franks & Rechenberg. P.C. Attorneys at Law to help with your case.