No matter your walk of life, background or appearance, you would probably prefer to avoid interaction with the police. If an officer stops you in public, you might misunderstand your rights.
Regardless of the situation in which you might find yourself with a law enforcement officer (LEO), there are constitutional rights that protect you. Remaining calm and being respectful can help your interaction go more smoothly.
If police stop you in public, your rights include:
- Legal representation. You can have an attorney present when you answer questions. If you face charges, a private or court-appointed lawyer can help you seek favorable results.
- Staying quiet. You may tell an officer you would rather remain silent, and though he or she will likely continue asking questions and pressing you for details, it is wise to remain quiet until you have legal counsel.
- Objecting to a search. Depending on the situation, the police may want to verify whether you are carrying a weapon or are conducting illegal activities. LEOs might perform a search without your consent, but verbalizing your objections in advance could help your potential case in court.
While you may assert your rights respectfully, law enforcement officers can still make mistakes. You have a right to gather information for future litigation; you can take pictures of your injuries, get witnesses’ contact information, and seek medical care.
If law enforcement prevents you from gathering evidence or fails to do the same after your request, clearly state your specific requests again in a way that your request can been seen on officers’ body cameras or dash cameras.
If you believe that your rights have been infringed during a traffic stop or during a search of your person/property, contact the Blackwelder Law Firm today to discuss your options moving forward.