Throughout a run in with police we tend to give up a lot more information than we need to. It must be realized that when we have been pulled over by law enforcement we still possess our constitutional rights. The police tend to utilize and sometimes abuse the full extent of their powers putting the citizen in an uncomfortable position in order to obtain the information they need. I came across a Cleo report this morning that provides an outline of citizens rights and the powers of the police during traffic stops. Here are the basics :
- Although you should never be rude, the majority of the time you have the right to NOT answer the police officers questions when pulled over (unless extreme circumstances).
- Tell them who you are. The police have the right to detain you until they find out your name or your bail hearing has arrived. If you lie, you CAN be charged with obstructing justice.
- Citizens do NOT have the ability to contact a lawyer before a road side test for sobriety, however, we possess the right to contact a lawyer BEFORE providing a breath sample or drug test at the police station.
- You can refuse to provide a breath sample but that's risky. You will need to provide a reasonable excuse on why you refused. Failure for courts to recognize this story will most likely result in similar charges to those if you blew over the limit.
- Unless being arrested or detained you technically have the right to be on your way. This goes back to not being rude; however, if you feel your being questioned are harassed for no apparent reason question the officer if you're being detained... If the answer is no tell them you have places to be and your leaving.
- Reasonable grounds is all a law enforcement officer needs to detain you. This realistically means a subjective officers opinion that you are or have been breaking a law.
- Reports of handguns waves every bodies rights. All persons within the area can legally be detained at roadblocks following reports of people possessing hand guns.
- ANYTHING you say CAN and WILL be used against you in the court of law. Don't say more than you need to when detained. Give them your name and contact a lawyer. Let them do the talking (Car accidents are different, you are obligated to state what happened)!
- Police have the right to continue asking questions. Once you have stated you want a lawyer the law enforcement officers may still poke you for information. YOU should still remain silent.
What rights do I have after I am arrested or detained?
- Law enforcement must provide reasoning on why you are detained.
- Police are obligated to let you know about your rights to a lawyer and/or free legal aid.
- The ability to speak to a lawyer in private.
- If you are under 18 - you possess the right to speak with guardian and lawyers. Make sure you ask!
Can the police enter my house?
- Law enforcement can enter the house pending they have an arrest warrant for someone confirmed on the premises, a search warrant, permission to enter from a household authority or an emergency situation.
- Always ask to see the warrant. Check names, date, time and authority signature. The warrant MUST contain the name of who signed it, the date, place and time.
- Police do not possess the right to come to your door "looking for evidence".
- If you have been arrested the police have the right to search you.
- If you are in a place the police are searching for drugs and they have suspicion of drugs on your person you are subject to be searched.
- If you're in a vehicle where alcohol is illegally being consumed the police have the right to search.
- If the police believe your in possession of something illegal that has the ability to be destroyed before a warrant is issued they are allowed to search.
This is a vague guide however provides a brief outline of your rights as a citizen!