What To Do When Dealing With Police
WHEN QUESTIONED BY A POLICEMAN:
After giving your name and address YOU SHOULD THEN BE QUIET. But if you think you are innocent and that you could quickly explain what happened, you might answer the policeman’s questions, but YOU CAN STOP TALKING WHENEVER YOU WANT. Remember, anything you say may be used against you in court. You do NOT have to produce ID or give your name unless the officer has other grounds to arrest you.
Even if you are innocent of any crime, DON’T FIGHT BEING ARRESTED. A policeman can use force if you resist. If the policeman searches you, TELL HIM YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SEARCHED, but do not try to stop him.
WHEN QUESTIONED AT HOME:
You have a special right to privacy in your home. Even if a policeman asks, DO NOT ASK HIM INTO YOUR HOME. But if he has a search warrant, you must let him in.
WHEN STOPPED IN YOUR CAR:
Show the policeman your driver’s license, car registration and insurance certificate when he asks for it. Remember, YOU SHOULD KEEP QUIET and YOU CAN STOP TALKING AT ANY TIME. If the officer asks to look inside your car, TELL HIM YOU DO NOT WANT HIM TO SEARCH YOUR CAR, but do not try to stop him. An officer usually does not need a warrant to search a car, but he does need probable cause of a crime such as an informer’s tip, the smell of marijuana, or a furtive gesture.
WHEN TAKEN TO THE POLICE STATION:
If you are not free to leave, ASK TO SEE A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY. You have the right to make a telephone call to get a lawyer or to call your family to get one for you. If you cannot pay a lawyer, you have a right to a free lawyer if you are charged with a serious crime. DO NOT SAY OR SIGN ANYTHING UNTIL THE LAWYER IS WITH YOU.
After being arrested, the police must take you to a judge. The judge will say how much bail you must pay to get out, but if you live or work in the town YOU SHOULD ASK THE JUDGE TO FREE YOU “O.R.” (on your own recognizance) instead of paying bail or posting bond. This means you promise to come to your trial on the day the judge says. If you are a juvenile, you ordinarily can be released to your parents without bail, so demand that the police call them.
Do Not Make Any Decisions Until You See A Lawyer