Know Your Rights: How to Handle Police Encounters

Courtesy of attorney Peter M. Baskin who practices law in Arlington, Virginia.

                       DEALING WITH COPS ON THE STREET

If approached by a police officer, ask if you are free to leave: if yes, walk away immediately. If approached at home, stay inside.

Refuse to answer all questions except about your identity.

Refuse to consent to any search, or home entry, unless shown a warrant.

Refuse to admit to anything or to explain anything.

Refuse to take any sobriety or other tests on the street.

Demand to have a lawyer present when questioned.

                          TRAFFIC STOP DO’S AND DON’TS 

DO: Be calm and keep your hands visible at all times.

DO: Identify yourself fully and agree to come to court.

DO: Give your license to the police officer as soon as possible.

DO: Tell the officer you will talk only about your identity and a court date without a lawyer present.

DO NOT: Admit to anything, explain anything or consent to any search.

DO NOT: Take any sobriety tests or other tests on the street.

DO NOT: Answer any questions except about your identity.

DO NOT: Believe any statement that you will “help” yourself if you “cooperate”. Cooperating means giving up these rights and only helps the police by giving them evidence they will use against you!

                                    IF  ARRESTED

DO NOT RESIST: You will be handcuffed, searched and pomptly taken to a Judicial Officer for bond. Identify yourself and agree to come to court. SAY NOTHING ELSE AND CALL A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY! 

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