What Are My Rights?

What Are My Rights if I’m Stopped by Police?

When you are arrested by law enforcement officers, it can be a frightening and stressful experience. Being accused of a crime a is tough situation to be in, which is why we want to help you avoid doing something that will only get you into more trouble. In this blog, we explain what your rights are when you get stopped by law enforcement.

If you are ever stopped and questioned by police, DO the following things:

  • Ask the officer, “Am I free to go?” If their response is “yes,” you can freely leave. If their response is “no,” ask them to provide you with a reason for why you are being stopped.
  • You have the right to remain silent, use it. While police might try to get you to talk, they can’t arrest or detain you not answering their questions.
  • You do not have to consent to a search, so say “I do not consent to a search” if the police ask to search you.

DON’T do these things if you are stopped for questioning:

  • Mouth-off or disrespect the officer.
  • Flee or resist a “pat down.” Instead, tell the officer you do not consent to a search.
  • Tell the officer you refuse to talk to them. Instead, tell them that you “choose to remain silent.”

If police stop you in your vehicle, DO the following things:

  • If asked, show the officer your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.
  • Make sure to keep your hands visible on the steering wheel. Tell the officer when you are going to make a move, like reach for your license or registration.
  • Tell the officer, “I do not consent to a search.”
  • If you are given a ticket, sign it, otherwise you might be arrested for refusing.

DON’T do any of the following things if you are stopped in your vehicle:

  • Physically resist a search.
  • Refuse to sign a ticket.
  • Start looking for your license or registration before the officer asks you to. Moving about before you are asked can make it look like you are trying to reach for a weapon or hide evidence.
  • Offer police a bribe.
  • Leave loud music on.
  • Leave objects hanging from your rearview mirror.

If police arrest you and bring you to the station, DO the following things:

  • Ask to speak with your lawyer and assert your right to remain silent. This should prevent police from trying to further question you.
  • Always assume that any calls you make from the police station are being recorded.

DON’T do these things if you are arrested and brought to the police station:

  • Offer an explanation or make excuses for a crime you have been accused of. Remain silent instead and wait to speak with your lawyer.
  • Talk about your case over the phone.
  • Make decisions about your case without the advice of a lawyer.

More than a Decade of Experience on Your Side

Have you been arrested by law enforcement? Our team of Rhode Island attorneys can help defend your rights. We have 10+ years of criminal defense experience and we are here 24/7 to assist with your case.

Call (401) 312-4385 to schedule a free consultation today.