What Should I Do if the Police Stop Me ?

 The police have some freedom to carry out their duties to maintain order, this could include the right to use force if the case warrants it. However, you have rights under the United States Constitution and other laws that limit how far an officer can go to ensure public order and the success of an arrest.

Even if you are not a US citizen, you have rights in this country.

One of the purposes of civil rights laws is to protect citizens from abuse by the government. This includes police misconduct or excessive use of force by police.

These are your rights if you are pulled over while in a car

  • You have the right to remain silent and not answer any questions.
  • When you receive a ticket (for example, for speeding), you must provide your driver's license, auto insurance, and vehicle registration, if requested.
  • The officer may ask you to get out of the vehicle, you must do so if asked.
  • The police are not allowed to search the vehicle unless there is a valid reason.
  • You do not have the right to leave if the officer tells you to stay.
  • Usually, a pat down search can be done. It can be done if the officer has reason to believe something suspicious is going on, but can't go through your pockets. If it is part of a search, they will use a more thorough method and may search under your clothes. You are legally allowed to decline both methods.

your responsibilities

  • Keep calm and be kind.
  • Do not interfere with the police or obstruct them.
  • Do not tell lies or give false documents.
  • Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.
  • It is advisable to document the description of the accident in as much detail as possible. For this, you can use your smartphone to take photos and record videos and voice memos.
  • File a written complaint or call the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) if you think your rights have been violated.

Responding to Officers' Questions
You have a constitutional right to remain silent, so you do not have to answer any questions. You don't have to talk to any officers or anyone else. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer before answering any questions. Tell the police officer that you have chosen not to answer, but always do your best to be respectful and courteous.

How to behave if you are stopped while in the car
Try to move slowly and make sure you always have your hands in view of the officer. Don't physically resist a pat down. Instead say "I do not consent to a search." Ask the officer if you have permission to leave, and if the officer says yes, then calmly go. However, if the officer says no, then you have to stay.

What to do if police officers treat you badly
You have the right to ask the officer to share information (such as name and badge number) with you. Try to find witnesses and if they are injured, take pictures as soon as possible. Call a lawyer or your local human rights protection office.

Do you have to show your immigration documents if the police arrest you?
Non-citizens over the age of 18 must carry their documents with them at all times. If you are undocumented and it is not possible to show US immigration documents, you can choose not to answer questions regarding your status.
Some of these questions may be, Are you a citizen? or Where are you from?

What to do if you are taken into the custody of ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

  • You have the right to a lawyer, but the government does not have to give you one. If you don't have a lawyer, ask for a list of free or low-cost legal services providers.
  • You have the right to contact your consulate or have an officer notify the consulate of your arrest.
  • Tell the immigration agent that you want to remain silent. Do not discuss your immigration status with anyone other than your attorney.
  • Don't sign anything , such as an application for voluntary departure from the country or a stipulated order of removal, without talking to a lawyer first. If you sign, you may be giving up the opportunity to try to stay in the United States.
  • Remember your immigration number (“A number”) and give it to your family. This will help your relatives locate you.
  • Keep a copy of your immigration documents with someone you trust.

Now that you know about your rights and responsibilities when stopped by a police officer, put them into practice if this situation arises.

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