Getting pulled over by the police can be one of the most stressful situations of your life. It can be equally taxing on your mind because of the current state of events. You can never be certain whether you’re going to have to interact with an officer who won’t be fair to you and truly uphold the law. The best way to protect yourself is to be fully aware of your rights in the situation and to handle yourself accordingly. The following is some information on the rights you have and some tips to consider if you ever get pulled over.
Your Rights as a Citizen
You should be aware of at least three rights that you can exercise if the police ever stop you. Firstly, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to admit any wrongdoing or answer any questions about a crime. You may have to provide your name in certain states, however. Secondly, you have the right to counsel. You can request an attorney and refuse to comment on the crime until you have one. Thirdly, you have a right to refuse a search if the police offer does not have a search warrant. You cannot resist a pat-down from the police if they suspect that you might have a weapon on you, however. You also have a right to find a bail bond company that can get you out fast if the police detain you and place you in jail holding.
How to Keep Things Calm
Your goal during a police stop should always be to keep all parties calm. Therefore, you should speak to the officer with a calm and respectful tone. You should keep your hands where they can see them at all times. Furthermore, you should try to comply with the officer’s requests. Never give them false information or argue with them. Those behaviors almost always escalate the situation and place the defendant in danger. Do what you must do to stay safe and quietly memorize names and badge numbers in case you need to report mistreatment later.
What to Do if You Experience or Witness Police Brutality
If you experience police brutality, you can report it to the police department’s Internal Affairs Department or the Civilian Complaint Board. Alternatively, you may voice your concerns to a reputable attorney.
If you ever witness police brutality, you must stay a safe distance back from the incident so that you don’t get charged with obstructing. You can record the brutality as long as it does not prevent the officer from doing his or her duty. Keep records of the brutality in case the victim needs you to be a witness in the future.
What to Do if You’re Detained
In some cases, the police may bring you back for booking and detain you. At that point, you will need to request that they allow you to make a phone call. Use your phone call wisely. Call a trusted family member and friend who can find you a bail bond agent and an attorney who can defend you as well.
The tips mentioned above can help you to survive a stop and go back to your normal life afterward. Keep them in mind, and don’t forget to contact an attorney if you need a defense or if you want to pursue a lawsuit for brutality.