-- click to print this page --


This is not legal advice, merely suggestions. Trust your instincts, and always consult a local attorney if possible.

You never have to speak to police; you can ALWAYS ask if you are free to go.

If you are not free to go, you are being detained and may be arrested. You can again ask if you are free to go.

If you are arrested, you can clearly state: I wish to remain silent. I want to see my lawyer.

You ALWAYS have a right to remain silent. You do not lose this right even if you have already spoken to police. ALWAYS remember what witnesses were present during police encounters.

If an officer knocks on your door, you do not have to go with the police unless they have a warrant for your arrest.

When in doubt, do not consent to a search. If police do search you, say clearly I do NOT consent to this search.

You do not have to open your bag, the trunk of your car or any closed container for the police. If police suspect that you are carrying a weapon, they may pat down your outer clothing (but may not reach inside bags).

You do not have to let police into your home without a valid search warrant, which should include the objects to be seized, the correct address, and the date. If the police come to your door, keep the door locked and ask them to slide their business card under the door. If they have a search warrant, ask them to slide it under the door and review it for location, items to be seized, and date before opening the door.

Laws requiring you to provide ID vary from state to state. Consult a local attorney to fi nd out when you must provide ID.

Police often target groups such as youth, non-citizens, people of color, LGBTQ people, and disabled people. If you identify as a member of one of these groups, or if you have medical needs, you may want to research what your rights are when interacting with police or in custody. People who need medication or medical attention often do NOT receive required treatment while under arrest.

Non-citizens risk immigration consequences including deportation, exclusion from admission, or denial of naturalization, depending on charges / outcome. Do NOT sign anything without an immigration lawyer present.