You were walking to your car after attending a night class at Norfolk State University. You don’t live on campus and it was cold, so you were walking quickly to get into the warmth of your vehicle. You were almost there when you heard a police officer order you to stop.
You aren’t sure why the police officer is stopping you, but you cooperate. Before you know it, the officer grabs your book bag and begins rifling through the contents, then says he wants to search you. You’re not positive, but you don’t think he has the right to do this.
When an Officer Stops You: How You Can Defend Your Rights
You may feel afraid, confused, and angry that the officer has stopped you. However, if you handle the situation in the appropriate manner, you may increase your chances of being let go. Remember the following tips to protect your rights:
- Stay calm. The worst things you can do if confronted by police are to run, become agitated, argue, or resist. Instead, keep your hands visible at all times and stay calm. Acting aggressively towards a police officer can hurt your chances of proving innocence, especially if the case is taken to court.
- Stay silent. You have the right to remain silent and should if you believe anything you say can be incriminating. Never lie, just tell the officer you want to remain silent, because as stated in your Miranda Rights, what you say can and will be used against you in court.
- Decline a search. You have the right to refuse the request of a search of yourself and your belongings. However, the police can conduct a “pat down” over your clothing if you are suspected of carrying a weapon.
- Ask if you can leave. If you aren’t under arrest, you can ask the officer if you can leave. If he agrees, walk away calmly. If he says no and places you under arrest, you have a right to know the reason for the arrest.
We Can Help You Seek Justice
If you believe a police officer violated your rights or you were wrongly accused of a crime, Tavss Fletcher may be able to help. Call to talk to one of our attorneys. We are here to protect your rights.