Yours rights when interacting with law enforcement

If you have never had any type of run-in with the law then the idea of an arrest can be extremely overwhelming and it would be understandable if you do not have the knowledge of all your rights in a time of distress. In order to help, in case this situation was to ever to occur, here are the main things to know.

You have the right to ask questions

When a police officer stops you or even goes forward with an arrest, you have every right to know why you are being detained and should feel free to ask what exactly the reason is. It is however really important to be calm and respectful in order to avoid any misunderstandings that could be interpreted as aggressiveness or a threat for everyone’s safety.

You don’t have to answer all questions without a lawyer

Law enforcement will have questions and you can answer them but if you speak too freely or say something that could hurt your case, it could also be used against you in a court of law. For this reason, you have the ability to say that you are not comfortable speaking further without a lawyer present. This means eventually you will have to talk but having a lawyer as a guide could help from more leading questions being asked.

You can say no to searches

Despite what many people think, you can actually decline for your personal belongings to be searched, however, this is only the case up until law enforcement is able to acquire a search warrant. At this point, you will legally be forced to comply.

You shouldn’t have to delete videos

There have been many times now where a video of law enforcement interaction has led to accountability being held, but for this same reason, some may try and force the person recording to delete the footage. It’s imperative to know that this is not legal and you do not have to comply. If you are however hesitant to defy instructions, there are apps such as the Mobile Justice App that will take your live footage and save it to the cloud simultaneously to keep it safe from forced deletion.

You can apply for a lawyer

Lawyers are expensive and not everyone can afford them but it is part of the Miranda rights that if you can’t afford one, you can still get one. This is true but with one major caveat in that, you have to apply. The courts will predominantly look at income when deciding if you have the resources to hire your own lawyer but even if your income is above the threshold, they also subsidized public defenders so you can get their services at a greatly reduced cost. If you are denied a lawyer outright, it is also possible to contact lawyers to see if they may take you on pro bono.