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What Are My Rights When Stopped by Police?

Encounters with police officers can be a scary and stressful experience. While these situations are not always fair or legal, this blog post provides you with useful information which could help you avoid getting into more trouble.

If you are stopped for questioning, DO the following:

  • Ask “Am I free to go?” If they respond with “yes,” then you can leave. But if they say “no,” ask them about the reason why.
  • Exercise your right to remain silent. Although it may appear suspicious to the police, there is no way you can arrest or detain you if you refuse to answer questions.
  • Say “I do not consent to a search,” if you do not wish to be searched.

DO NOT do the following if you’re stopped for questioning:

  • Disrespect law enforcement since it could result in your arrest.
  • Run away or resist a “pat-down.” Instead, say “I do not consent to a search”
  • Tell the police officer that you refuse to speak with them. Instead, say “I want to remain silent.”

If you are stopped in your vehicle, DO the following:

  • Present the police officer with your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance when asked.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel and inform the officer about your next move, such as “I am going to take my registration out of my glove compartment.”
  • Say “I do not consent to a search.”
  • Sign your ticket if you are given one, or else you may be arrested if you refuse.
  • Perform the DWI test, or else your driver’s license may be automatically suspended.

DO NOT do the following if you are stopped in your vehicle:

  • Instead of physically resisting to a search, just say “I do not consent to a search.”
  • Refuse to sign a ticket since it can lead to your arrest.
  • Search for your license or registration before being asked by the police officer since it can appear like you are about to reach for a weapon or hide something.
  • Bribe law enforcement.
  • Play loud music.
  • Have any objects hanging from your rearview mirror.

If you are arrested or brought to the police station, DO the following:

  • Say “I want to remain silent” and “I want to speak with my lawyer.” Law enforcement should stop question you after that.
  • Ensure that you receive your three phone calls within three hours of your arrest. If you have children, you get two more phone calls to arrange child care.
  • Assume that your phone calls are being recorded.

DO NOT do the following if you are arrested or taken to the police station:

  • Provide an explanation or an excuse for your alleged crimes. Remember, you have the right to remain silent and speak with your attorney.
  • Speak about your case over the phone.
  • Make any decisions without your lawyer present.

If you were recently arrested for a criminal offense in New York State, schedule a free case evaluation with our Rochester criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Robert King today.