Know Your Rights When Stopped By Police

Know Your Rights When Stopped By Police

civil rights

Know Your Rights When Stopped By Police

Being stopped and detained by the police is often stressful. However, you have rights protected by the Constitution when handling an encounter with the police. Remember the rights highlighted below, and talk to our Illinois civil rights lawyers at Michael D. Ettinger & Associates if you think your rights have been violated.

If You Have Been Stopped In Public

The police stop most citizens in public because they are suspected of committing a traffic violation or other crime. While you might feel intimidated in this situation, remember the following rights when the police stop you:

You Have The Right To Remain Silent

The most important civil right to remember when stopped by the police is you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any police questions about what you were doing, where you were going, or where you live. You do not have to say anything at all. If you want to remain silent, politely tell the police that you wish to do so. However, if you do not answer when they ask you to identify yourself.

You Do Not Have To Consent To Their Search

You do not have to consent if they ask to search you or your vehicle. However, the police can pat you down to see if you have weapons. Remember that refusing their search does not mean they will not search you. For example, if you do not consent to search your vehicle, the police can get a warrant from a judge and do it anyway.

You Have A Right To A Lawyer

If the police arrest you, you are not required to defend yourself in court. Instead, you can hire an attorney, or the court will appoint one.

Questions About Your Origins

Many must realize you also have the right not to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a citizen, or how you came into the US. That said, there are special rules for law enforcement in airports and at international borders.

What Should You Do If Your Rights Were Violated?

Sometimes the police will violate a person’s civil rights during the arrest or questioning. If you think this happened to you, there are several steps to take:

  • Write down or videotape everything you remember about the incident. You should note the officer’s badge number, patrol car number, the station the police were from, and other details. If there were witnesses, get their contact information.
  • If you are hurt, get medical attention immediately. A doctor must document your injuries so you can take legal action later. Take photos of your injuries, if possible.
  • File a complaint with the police internal affairs division. You can file the complaint anonymously.
  • Talk to a civil rights attorney immediately. Your attorney can review the incident and let you know if you have a case. They also can protect you from saying something to law enforcement that damages your claim.

Speak To Our Illinois Civil Rights Lawyers Today

If you are reading this and you think the police violated your civil rights, we want to talk to you today. Contact our Illinois civil rights lawyers at Michael D. Ettinger & Associates at (708) 923-0368 about handling your civil rights case.