What Are My Rights If I Am Stopped By The Police?
It can be a terrifying experience, whether you are driving or walking, to suddenly be stopped by the police. Even if you are well versed in constitutional law, your mind can go blank in that moment. In the event that you remember your rights, it can still be scary to try and assert them to armed officers, particularly if there is a language barrier. However, the more familiar you are with your rights, the more it begins to feel like second nature to voice them and ensure that they are respected. Below is an overview of some of your key rights under the Fourth and Fifth amendments when you are stopped by police.
You have the right to remain silent.
It can be hard to assert your right to remain silent without causing confusion or seeming potentially combative. However, you are not under any obligation to speak to police if you are not under arrest. If they have pulled you over, you can comply with their request for your license and registration and inform them that you will respectfully be invoking your fifth amendment right to silence. If English is a second language, you can keep a small card in your wallet that states that you are invoking your fifth amendment right to silence. If you are unsure of whether you are under arrest it is important to ask. There is a lot of power in asking the question, “Am I under arrest, or am I free to leave?” Police frequently count on people being too intimidated to ask this very question, because if police are not arresting you, they have no right to hold you and must let you go.