What to Do if you’re Stopped by Police


Staff member
What to Do if you re Stopped by Police

[SUP]Esta tarjeta también se puede obtener en inglés y español.
Produced by the American Civil Liberties Union 6/10
w w w. a c l u . o rg
your hands on the wheel.

Download a handy wallet size fold up at [/SUP]WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE STOPPED BY POLICE, IMMIGRATION AGENTS OR THE FBI (Download»)[HR][/HR]

• You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
• You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
• If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
• You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.
• Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.


• Do stay calm and be polite.
• Do not interfere with or obstruct the police.
• Do not lie or give false documents.
• Do prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.
• Do remember the details of the encounter.
• Do file a written complaint or call your local ACLU if you feel your rights have been violated.

[SUP]This information is not intended as legal advice. This brochure is available in English and Spanish [/SUP]
[SUB]We rely on the police to keep us safe and treat us all fairly, regardless of race, ethnicity,
national origin or religion. This card provides tips for interacting with police and understanding
your rights. Note: some state laws may vary. Separate rules apply at checkpoints and when entering
the U.S. (including at airports).[/SUB]


  • Stay calm
  • Don t RUN
    [*=1]Don t Argue with the police,
    [*=1]Don t resist the police,
    [*=1]Don t obstruct the police,
    [*=1]Keep your hands where police can see them.
    • Even if you are innocent or police are violating your rights.
  • Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away.
  • If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why.
  • You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions.
  • If you wish to remain silent, tell the officer out loud.
  • In some states, you must give your name if asked to identify yourself.
  • You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may “pat down” your clothing if they suspect a weapon.
  • You should not physically resist, but you have the right to refuse consent for any further search.
  • If you do consent, it can affect you later in court.


  • Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible.
  • Turn off the car,
  • Turn on the internal light,
  • Open the window part way and place
  • Upon request, Show police your
    • driver s license,
    • registration and
    • proof of insurance.
  • If an officer or immigration agent asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search.
    • But if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent.
  • Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent.
  • If you are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave.
    • If the officer says yes, sit silently or calmly leave.
    • officer says no, you have the right to remain silent.


You have the right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents or any other officials.
You do not have to answer questions about

  • Where you were born,
  • Whether you are a U.S. citizen, or
  • How you entered the country.
(Separate rules apply at international borders and airports, and for individuals on certain non-immigrant visas, including tourists and business travelers.)

  • If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them if you have them with you.
  • If you are over 18, carry your immigration documents with you at all times.
  • If you do not have immigration papers, say you want to remain silent.
  • Do not lie about your citizenship status or provide fake documents.


  • If the police or immigration agents come to your home, you do not have to let them in unless they have certain kinds of warrants.
  • Ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to the window so you can inspect it.
  • A search warrant allows police to enter the address listed on the warrant, but officers can only search the areas and for the items listed.
  • An arrest warrant allows police to enter the home of the person listed on the warrant if they believe the person is inside.
  • A warrant of removal/deportation (ICE warrant) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent.
  • Even if officers have a warrant, you have the right to remain silent.
  • If you choose to speak to the officers, step outside and close the door.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Call your local ACLU or visit www.aclu.org/profiling.

Stumpy McDugal

Cracker OG
Staff member
Re: What to Do if you re Stopped by Police

You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.

Remember, you MUST state that you're exercising your right to remain silent. You can no longer just remain silent.

Silence is not an admission of guilt and cannot be used against you in court.


Staff member
Re: What to Do if you re Stopped by Police

Remember, you MUST state that you're exercising your right to remain silent. You can no longer just remain silent.

Silence is not an admission of guilt and cannot be used against you in court.
[h=3]The Price of Silence: Supreme Court Rules That Pre-Miranda Silence Can Be Used Against Defendant To Prove Guilt[/h]In a major loss for individual rights vis-a-vis the police, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that prosecutors could use a person’s silence against them in court if it comes before he’s told of his right to remain silent.
The prosecutors used the silence of Genovevo Salinas to convict him of a 1992 murder.
Because this was a non-custodial interview, the Court ruled that the prosecutors could use his silence even though citizens are allowed to refuse to speak with police.

It is of little surprise that the pro-police powers decision was written by Samuel Alito who consistently rules in favor of expanding police powers.

The case began on the morning of December 18, 1992 when two brothers were shot and killed in their Houston home.
A neighbor told police that someone fled in a dark-colored car.
Police recovered six shotgun shell casings at the scene.
Police interviewed Salinas who was a guest at a party that the victims hosted the night before they were killed.
He owned a dark blue car.
While this was a noncustodial interview and Salinas answered questions by the police, he stopped answering when a police officer asked whether his shotgun “would match the shells recovered at the scene of the murder.”

The record states that, rather than answering “petitioner ‘[l]ooked down at the floor, shuffled his feet, bit his bottom lip, cl[e]nched his hands in his lap, [and] began to tighten up.’”

Notably, there was insufficient evidence to charge him with the crime.
However, a statement later by another man (who said that Salinas admitted to the killings) led to the charge.

Salinas did not testify at trial, so prosecutors used his silence against him.

In 1976, in Doyle v. Ohio, the Court held that the prosecution may not comment on a suspect’s silence when he was under arrest and had been given Miranda warning.
Here Salinas was using his right to remain silent that belongs to every citizen.
However, because the police did not move to arrest him, the prosecutors are allowed to achieve the prejudicial impact addressed in Doyle.

The prosecutors also served to undermine the right not to take the stand.
In Griffin v. California, the Court ruled that prosecutors could not comment on an individual’s decision not to take the stand and testify.
Yet, here the prosecutors succeeded in magnifying the impact of this failure to testify by directing the attention of the jury to his decision to remain silent in the pre-custodial interview.

Of course, now the police need only to ask questions before putting some into custody to use their silence against them.
What is particularly troublesome is how subjective this evidence is.
To use the silence and demeanor of a suspect on this question is highly prejudicial and equally unreliable.
Yet, now the refusal to answer questions (which is your right) can now be used against you.
You can imagine how this new rule can be used any time someone wants to speak with a lawyer or a family member.
Police can now recount how they did not assist them or volunteer information.

Citizens will now be able to have protected silence only after being placed in custody.
Of course you had that right before that point, but silence would now be incriminating.
That gives police every incentive to delay custody — an incentive that already exists due to other rules like Miranda.

In his dissent, Justice Breyer stressed the danger:
the need to categorize Salinas’ silence as based on the Fifth Amendment is supported here by the presence, in full force, of the predicament I discussed earlier, namely that of not forcing Salinas to choose between incrimination through speech and incrimination through silence. That need is also supported by the absence of any special reason that the police had to know, with certainty, whether Salinas was, in fact, relying on the Fifth Amendment—such as whether to doubt that there really was a risk of self-incrimination, see Hoffman v. United States, 341 U. S. 479, 486 (1951), or whether to grant immunity, see Kastigar, 406 U. S., at 448. Given these circumstances, Salinas’ silence was “sufficient to put the [government] on notice of an apparent claim of theprivilege.” Quinn, supra, at 164. That being so, for reasons similar to those given in Griffin, the Fifth Amendment bars the evidence of silence admitted against Salinas and mentioned by the prosecutor.

This ruling will likely open up an entire area of new prosecutorial arguments using silence as evidence of guilt.

Here is the decision: 12-246_1p24


Army Cracker
Re: What to Do if you re Stopped by Police

Good stuff, very good stuff. I have it printed and in my glove box.

Little Dee

Sweet & Sassy
Re: What to Do if you re Stopped by Police

You mean to tell me that you just can't be nice and smile and maybe a little wink???