It’s easy to be intimidated by officers when you’re stopped, which can make it harder to realize what your rights are and whether or not they’re being violated. Everyone should know the rights they have when stopped by the police so they can make informed decisions. Here’s everything you need to know about your rights when it comes to public police stops.
Your Miranda Rights
We’ve all heard the Miranda rights recited by cops in TV shows and movies. It’s the speech they give to a suspect while initiating an arrest. Your Miranda rights are the rights you have as a defendant during and after your arrest.
The first Miranda right is the right to remain silent. Everything you say can be used as evidence in your trial, so you’re given the option to not say anything. This extends from your arrest to questioning and interrogations, and it’s often used until the defendant’s attorney arrives.
As a defendant, another one of your Miranda rights is to be represented by an attorney during any questioning or court appearances. You’re also given the option to represent yourself in court, but we don’t recommend doing so.
If you’re unable to afford an attorney, you have the right to be appointed one by the government.
What to do if You’re Arrested
If you’re arrested by the police, the best thing to do is remain silent until your attorney arrives. Tell them you won’t speak without an attorney, and refuse to speak, do anything, or sign anything without your attorney there to advise you. Some officers might push you to speak without your attorney so they can get evidence against you, which is why it’s so important to remain silent.
You have the right to a local phone call, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have total privacy. Police aren’t permitted to listen in on calls you make to your attorney, but they can and typically will listen to other calls made to family members, co-workers, friends, and significant others.
If You Believe Your Rights Were Violated
Unfortunately, some officers don’t have as much respect for your rights as others. If you believe an officer has violated your rights during a stop, immediately make a record of what you remember. Write down everything that happened and try to recall badge numbers, officer names, patrol car numbers, and anything else you can. Try to contact anybody who witnessed the event, and file a complaint with the civilian complaint board. Complaints can usually be filed anonymously to protect your privacy.
If You Witness a Violation of Rights
If you believe you are witnessing a violation of rights by police, try to document it with a picture or video. Record with your phone camera and don’t try to hide what you’re doing. Police officers operate under the assumption that anybody can see and document their work, so you shouldn’t get into any trouble as long as you keep your phone in clear sight. If you can speak to the civilian who was stopped, exchange contact information with them and offer to send the video or pictures for them to use in a report or complaint.
Get Bailed Out Fast With A-EZ Out
If you’re arrested in Dallas, Denton, Tarrant or Collin County and need help with your bail, A-EZ Out can help! Our experienced bail bondsmen are available 24/7 to help you whenever you need us. We handle a wide range of bonds, so call or visit our website to learn more or get in touch with us today!