Your rights when stopped by the police

Your rights when stopped by the police
Your rights when stopped by the police

IF YOU ARE CONTACTED BY THE FBI

Know your rights when stopped by the police.  Failure to know and assert those rights may waive significant constitutional protections you have.

If an FBI agent comes to your home or workplace, you do not have to answer any questions. Tell the agent you want to speak to a lawyer first.

If you are asked to meet with FBI agents for an interview, you have the right to say you do not want to be interviewed. If you agree to an interview, have a lawyer present. You do not have to answer any questions you feel uncomfortable answering, and can say that you will only answer questions on a specific topic.

 IF YOU ARE ARRESTED

Do not resist arrest, even if you believe the arrest is unfair.

Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t give any explanations or excuses. If you can’t pay for a lawyer, you have the right to a free one. Don’t say anything, sign anything or make any decisions without a lawyer.

You have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer.

Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested. Memorize the phone numbers of your family and your lawyer. Make emergency plans if you have children or take medication.

Special considerations for non-citizens:

– Ask your lawyer about the effect of a criminal conviction or plea on your immigration status.

– Don’t discuss your immigration status with anyone but your lawyer.

– While you are in jail, an immigration agent may visit you. Do not answer questions or sign anything before talking to a lawyer.

– Read all papers fully. If you do not understand or cannot read the papers, tell the officer you need an interpreter.

 IF YOU ARE TAKEN INTO IMMIGRATION (OR

“ICE”) CUSTODY

You have the right to a lawyer, but the government does not have to provide one for you. If you do not have a lawyer, ask for a list of free or low-cost legal services.

You have the right to contact your consulate or have an officer inform the consulate of your arrest.

Tell the ICE agent you wish to remain silent. Do not discuss your immigration status with anyone but your lawyer.

Do not sign anything, such as a voluntary departure or stipulated removal, without talking to a lawyer. If you sign, you may be giving up your opportunity to try to stay in the U.S.

Remember your immigration number (“A” number) and give it to your family. It will help family members locate you.

Keep a copy of your immigration documents with someone you trust.

IF YOU FEEL YOUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN

VIOLATED

Remember: police misconduct cannot be challenged on the street. Don’t physically resist officers or threaten to file a complaint.

Write down everything you remember, including officers’ badge and patrol car numbers, which agency the officers were from, and any other details. Get contact information for witnesses. If you are injured, take photographs of your injuries (but seek medical attention first).

File a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board. In most cases, you can file a complaint anonymously if you wish.

Know your rights when stopped by the police.  Failure to know and assert those rights may waive significant constitutional protections you have.