Cooperating with Police in Oregon
While we deeply value and appreciate the efforts of the Portland police in maintaining law and order in our area, charges of excessive force and police violence across the nation give cause for concern. What should you do when you are confronted with police?
What To Do If You Are Stopped By PoliceYou should always recognize and acknowledge the authority of law enforcement during any interaction, but it is important to understand your rights as a citizen as well. To ensure these rights as well as your own personal safety are protected, our personal injury attorney offers the following tips on cooperating with police if you are pulled over or involved in an accident.
A February 2017 Willamette Weekly news story on police violence against protesters highlights one of several incidents that have occurred recently in which the Portland Police Department has been accused of using excessive force. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been vocal in criticism of the department's actions, while increasing their efforts to inform citizens of their civil rights. While it is important to cooperate and to treat uniformed officers with politeness and respect, you should protect yourself by following these tips from the Oregon ACLU:
Stay calm, and maintain control of your body language and emotions;
Cooperate with any requests, and do not argue or physically resist;
Keep your hands where they can be seen at all times;
Be aware that anything you say can be used against you, and you have the right to remain silent and not answer questions;
You do not have to consent to a search of your car or person;
You have the right to know what you are being stopped or detained for.
You also have the right to videotape any transactions with the police, but be careful to alert officers before reaching for your phone. The ACLU's Mobile Justice app allows you to record interactions and notify other app users in the area of your situation, and automatically saves and sends the video to the ACLU office when you stop filming.
Cooperating With Police At An Accident SceneThe Oregon Department Of Motor Vehicles advises that drivers who are involved in an accident are required to do the following:
Notify law enforcement if there are injuries or any property damage;
Remain on the scene until the police arrive;
Exchange information with other drivers involved;
Call 911 to ensure injured victims get the care they need.
To protect yourself and your rights to compensation through a personal injury claim, you should avoid making any statements or taking any actions until the police arrive. Even if you are only a witness to an accident, you should also remain on the scene until you have been questioned and are given permission to leave.
If you are involved in an accident or detained by police, contact a lawyer right away. An attorney can provide the aggressive representation you need, and advise you on the best course of action to ensure your rights are protected.