Everyone has rights when dealing with law enforcement, but many people don’t know what to do when approached by police.
Hupy and Abraham thinks it is important for you to know how to deal with police. It’s also important that you know your rights, especially with recent violent events occurring between police and civilians.
To help prevent undesirable situations from happening, Hupy and Abraham has developed ten rules you should follow if you encounter police.
Rule number one is always remain calm. Remaining calm and collected will prevent the situation from escalating. If you act nervous, it could lead to the officer being suspicious of your behavior.
Rule number two is never touch an officer. If you behave dangerously or belligerently, the officer is trained to deal with you. Always keep your hands in sight. Never put them in your pockets. If you are in a car, keep your hands on the steering wheel.
Rule number three is remember that you have rights. Do not give them up. Make sure to express yourself as politely as possible. If you know you haven’t done anything wrong, don’t agree to unlawful searches or questioning.
Rule number four is ask if you are free to go. If you are not going to remain silent, ask if you are being detained. The officers are required by law to tell you whether you’re being arrested or not.
Rule number five is you can refuse most searches. An officer will need significant cause to search you, your home, or your vehicle. Demand a warrant for any search. Officers can perform a pat-down if they think you have a weapon. If this happens, do not physically resist the officer, just state that you don’t give consent to a further search without a warrant.
Rule number six is that you should not confess to any wrongdoing. Everything you say, can, and will be used against you in a court of law. This is provided by the Miranda law and is for your protection.
Rule number seven is that if you choose to, keep silent. You have the right to remain silent until you have a lawyer present. If you choose to exercise this right, say it out loud. Some states may require you to identify yourself by name to the police, but after that, you can remain silent.
Rule number eight is to ask for a lawyer. State out loud that you wish to remain silent. Ask for legal representation immediately. You are not required to explain, or give excuses, because this is your right. If you cannot pay for a lawyer, you have the right to a free one. Never say anything, sign anything, or make any decisions without a lawyer present. If you are arrested, you have the right to a phone call. If you do call a lawyer, the police cannot listen to that phone call.
Rule number nine is to demand a warrant for entry into your home. If the police do not present a warrant, you can refuse their entry. If a warrant is obtained, the police can only search the spaces specified on the warrant. An arrest warrant will allow the police to enter the home if they believe the person listed on the warrant is inside. You can ask the officers to show the warrant to you under a door, or through a window. If you want to speak with the officers, step outside the home, and shut the door behind you.
The final rule is to report any misconduct later. Do not argue. Never physically resist an officer, or threaten to file a complaint. If you think that your rights were violated, be as cooperative as possible. Write down everything that you remember, including badge and patrol car numbers, the agency the officers were from, and witness contact information. If you are injured, seek medical attention first, and then take photos of your injuries. Finally, contact a civil rights attorney like Hupy and Abraham.
These tips are meant to educate you on your rights as a citizen. We are not implying that misconduct will occur, or should be suspected, in every circumstance.
If you would like a free wallet-size card, reminding you what to do when you encounter police, go to our website at Hupy.com.
If you, or a loved one, have been a victim of police misconduct, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.