Whether we like to admit it or not, certain groups are more likely to have an encounter with the police. Besides other minorities, teenagers and young adults seem to be contacted most often by law enforcement. Unfortunately, many times these encounters end with an arrest that would not have occurred, if they knew their rights and these simple rules.
Here’s a synopsis that we could share with our loved ones:
If you're stopped or confronted by the police, here's some rules to follow:
1. Be Polite. Do not be confrontational, and do not argue! Stay calm and remain in control. You may be scared and even think your rights are being violated. But just relax. Watch your words, body language and emotions.
2. Do not, under any circumstances, get into an argument with the police. If the officer is out of line, you can file a complaint later.
3. Keep your hands in plain sight and make sure the police can see your hands at all times. Make no aggressive motions.
4. Do not try and run or flee
5. Do not touch the officers in any way, even if you brush against them they may consider it offensive or an assault.
6. Give the officers your identification; you're required to identify yourself
7. Do not give permission to search you or your home or vehicle, under any circumstances, no matter what the officer says or threatens, even if they threaten to bring a dog to the scene. Do not consent to any search, and do not sign a Consent to Search Form.
8. Do not answer any questions! I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY PEOPLE DON'T FOLLOW THIS SIMPLE RULE AND END UP CONVICTING THEMSELVES BY SOMETHING THEY SAID. "You have he right to remain silent, and anything you say or do WILL be used against you in a court of law." This has been in T.V. shows and movies tens of thousands of times, since the 1960s, yet people don't follow this rule. REMAIN SILENT! You are not required to answer any questions, not even "where are you coming from", "where are you going", what were you doing", "do you have anything illegal on you or in your car". You can politely say, you'll be happy to talk to them and cooperate to the extent your attorney allows. Let an attorney decide what you should or shouldn't say or agree to. Its better to be safe than sorry. Simply tell the officer you refuse to answer any questions and ask if you're being detained, or if your free to leave. If you're told you're free to leave, do so immediately, without saying another word.
9. Always be polite, despite the officer's attitude. Just like every other profession, there are good and bad cops, and some will try to provoke you, even by pushing you or putting their face close to yours. Don't take the bait!
10. If you're told you're being detained, do not try and leave.
11. If an officer has reasonable suspicion you committed or are committing a crime, they can pat you down for weapons.
12. IF AN OFFICER ASKS YOU TO TAKE THINGS OUT OF, OR EMPTY, YOUR POCKETS, DON'T! IF HE HAS THE RIGHT TO SEARCH YOU, HE WILL, BUT DON'T HELP HIM BY TAKING ANYTHING OUT FOR HIM AND EXPOSE YOURSELF!
13. If you're being detained or arrested, an officer can do a pat down and search the immediate area.
14. If you have a way to record your encounter with the police, either by video or audio, do so!
15. Do not voluntarily give the officers your phone or camera; however, If for some reason the officers try and grab your phone or camera from you, do not fight them or grab it back.
16. If you can, call an attorney as soon as your approached by the police, no matter where you are.
17. Remember, your goal is to get home safely. If your rights are being violated, you will have the right to file a complaint or take corrective actions later. This is not the time to argue Constitutional Law with the officers. Follow these instructions and, if they've done anything wrong, it can be addressed by an attorney later.
If you or a family member is ever arrested, call my office for a free consultation. I'll explain the charges and how I can help you. You can call (888) 641-3434, anytime for an emergency.
All the best!
Randy C. Redden