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What Are Your Rights During a Police Interaction?

Many people experience a lot of anxiety surrounding even casual encounters with the police. This can be an incredibly stressful situation that can go south fast. When you see the flashing red, white, and blue lights and hear the siren wailing chances are you’ll take a deep breath and hold it until you see the cop car pull away. Something as simple as a routine traffic stop may escalate and become a life-altering experience. Now, the police officer should notify you of your rights and have sufficient training to de-escalate the situation, but if they don’t you should be aware of your rights throughout the stop and during an arrest. 

During a stop

You have the right to remain silent. You may be required to identify yourself, but you aren’t obligated to share information about where you’re coming from or where you’re going. If you choose to remain silent, then vocalize your intentions. 

You’re not required to consent to a search. Police can pat you down if they suspect you’re carrying a weapon. However, you don’t have to provide consent for them to search you or your belongings. If they do, you can use that in your defense should your case go to court. 

You don’t have to answer questions about your citizenship. This right is reserved for international borders and immigration-specific issues. 

During an arrest

Once you’re in police custody the police must read you your Miranda Rights prior to interrogating you. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to have a lawyer present during questioning. If you can’t afford an attorney, the state will appoint you one. You may choose to waive these rights, but anything you say or do can be used against you in court.

Witnessing a stop

Due to increased media coverage of recorded instances of police brutality more people than ever are recording the police. You have the right to record a police interaction, so long as you don’t interfere with the questioning. You have the right to observe and record any event occurring in a public space. Just announce that you’re recording. The person they’re arresting still has a right to privacy, even if the arresting officer doesn’t. 

Police officers can’t confiscate your footage or review it without your permission unless they present a valid warrant. If they attempt to, remind them that it’s your first amendment right to do so. They may arrest you for failing to comply with their orders, which is unlawful. 

You can and should document everything at the scene. Write down what you see, collect badge numbers, patrol car numbers, names, note use of weapons, and contact information. 

A-EZ Out Bail Bonds

If you’re arrested in the DFW metroplex submit a contact form online. One of our expert bail bondsmen will get right back to you and explain the bond process. You can also reach out to the direct line of any of our five locations. We are dependable and fast, and proudly service Dallas, Tarrant, and Collin counties. 

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