In 2012, law enforcement personnel made 12,196,959 arrests nationwide. If you are ever stopped by the police, whether it be a traffic stop or on the street, it is important to know your rights. While laws differ in each state, here are some rights you have when being questioned by a cop.
You have the right to remain silent
No matter the circumstance, you do not have to speak to the officer in question. You have full right to wait until a criminal defense attorney is present, and if you wish to exercise this right make sure to say so out loud right away – and then stay silent. If you are with any others, they also have the right to be silent and cannot be questioned without giving consent.
You have the right to refuse a search of yourself or your belongings
Always call your lawyer if you are unsure of a search. Unless a cop has physical evidence and a court order in his or her hand, you do not have to subject to their search, whether it be a simple pat down or a full car sweep. But, if you do have incriminating evidence that can clearly be seen, it is important to know that a police officer can issue a search without your consent.
If you are not under arrest, you can calmly leave
Do not feel that you have to stay in an uncomfortable situation; the police do not have the right to detain you without issuing an arrest.
You have the right to an attorney immediately
If you are placed under arrest, ask for an attorney right away. It is important not to give any excuses or explanations, and understand that if you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you under federal law.
You have the right to be read your Miranda rights
If you are placed under arrest, the cop is legally bound to read you your Miranda rights. If they do not, your arrest is not viable and can be overturned with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.
You have the right to a phone call
The police cannot listen in on this call, so feel free to call for help from your lawyer if needed.
Criminal defense attorneys are there to protect and defend your rights. If you had an encounter with law enforcement and have any questions, John Elledge and Assoc PC is here to help.