Know Your Rights?

Posted about 3 years ago. 1 helpful vote



What to do if you are stopped by the police

The most important aspect to dealing with a police officer is to treat the officer with respect. Never get into an argument with a police officer. You will never win an argument with a police officer. You should never do anything that can be construed as disobeying a police officers. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you by the police. You should never tell the police that you are going to file a complaint against them or that you are going to sue them for what you believe is misconduct. Don't run, don't touch a police officer and don't put your hands where the officer cannot see your hands. Don't resist an officer. The time to challenge the officer is in Court. If you are placed under arrest ask for an attorney. If you are injured take pictures of the injury.


If you are stopped for questioning.

An officer can stop you on the street if they believe that a crime has been committed and that you committed a crime or are about to committ a crime. It is important to know that the law is now written to look at the stop from the police officer's perspective and not from your perspective. The police have a right to do a pat down if they believe that you have a weapon. Don't resist but make it clear that you do not consent to any further search. Don't run, you can ask if you are under arrest and if you are under arrest what are the charges.


What if you are stopped in a traffice situation in your car?

Upon a request by an officer in a car stop you are required to produce your drivers license, your car registration and your proof of insurance. In certain cases your car can be searched if the police have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. Officer safety is also a reason for an officer to search your car. Do not challenge the officer's actions, but you can say that you are consenting to a search. Remember the time to challenge the search is in Court and not at the scene of the traffic stop. Once again never run from the police at time of the traffic stop. If you are give a ticket you must sign it or you will be arrested for failing to sign the ticket. Signing a ticket is a promise to appear. It is not an admission of guilt.


What do you do if the police come to your home?

If the police knock at you door and ask to enter your house you do not have to admit them unless they have a warrant. However, in some emergency situations the police can enter without a warrant and without your consent. Once again the time to contest their entry is in a court of law and not at you home. If you are arrested the police have a right to search you and the area within your reach and plain view. You have a right to expect courteous and respectful treatment by the police. However, if you do not recieve the courteous treatment that you expect challenge the police after the incident and not at the time of the encounter.

Additional Resources

You can consult my web-site at for further discussions about knowing what to do when dealing with the police.

The National Police Accountability Project

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