Dealing with the Police? Know Your Rights.

Dealing with the Police? Know Your Rights.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Certain Police Encounters

Being approached by the police is not an everyday experience. That’s why it comes as no surprise that many Americans do not know their legal rights when encountering the police nor how to navigate their situation properly and safely. Thus, our Hinesville criminal defense attorneys strive to help you understand how to best handle several experiences you may have with law enforcement.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offers helpful tips for various types of encounters with the police that you can access by clicking here. With this in mind, our attorneys highlight and paraphrase some key legal rights and advice to consider during certain situations you may experience with the police, as provided by the ACLU:

You’ve Been Stopped by the Police in Public

If you were stopped by the police in a public place, such as a shopping mall, parking lot, sidewalk, or your place of work, be mindful that you obtain certain legal rights in these situations.

Legal rights

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • You don’t have to consent to a search of your person or property, although the police may pat you down if they suspect you have a weapon.
  • If you get arrested, you have the right to a public defender if you can’t afford a private lawyer
  • You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or how you entered the country.


  • Stay calm.
  • Don’t’ lie.
  • Keep your hands where the police can see them.

You’ve Been Pulled Over by the Police

Getting stopped by the police in your vehicle can turn into a dangerous situation if you don’t handle yourself appropriately. Far too many drivers who get pulled over end up getting arrested, hurt, or killed, which you could better avoid by being aware of the information below.

Legal rights

  • Drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent.
  • Passengers may ask if they’re free to leave. If the police say “yes,” passengers should silently leave.


  • Stop the car in a safe place right away before turning it off.
  • Turn on the internal light, open your window partially, and place your hands on the wheel where the police can see them. Passengers should place their hands on the dashboard.
  • If the police ask to see your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance, do it.
  • Don’t make any sudden movements and keep your hands where the officer can see them at all times.

The Police Knocked on Your Door

If the police are at your door, you must remember that there are certain things they can and cannot do. Continue reading below for more information.

Legal rights

  • Do not invite the officer into your house but instead, talk with them through the door and ask them to show you their identification.
  • You do not have to let the police inside unless they can show you a warrant signed by a judicial officer that names your address as a place to be searched or identifies you as a person to be arrested.
  • Ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to the window so you can read it.
  • Even if officers have a warrant, you have the right to remain silent. Stand silently and observe what they do, where they go, and what they take so you can write it down.


  • Do not resist arrest under any circumstances or else you may make your situation worse.
  • Follow all of the officer’s commands.

You’ve Been Arrested

Among the most frightening experiences is getting arrested by the police. Once handcuffs get slapped on your wrists, it is easy to forget the legal rights and advice you should keep in mind. Luckily, the information below serves as a powerful reminder of such.

Legal rights

  • You have the right to remain silent and request a criminal defense attorney immediately. If you cannot afford a private lawyer, you may request a public defender at no cost.
  • You do not have to answer any questions or give explanations or excuses.
  • You do not have to speak, sign anything, or make decisions without an attorney.
  • You have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen to your phone conversation if you’re calling a lawyer, although they will likely listen to any call you make to anyone else.


  • Do not resist arrest, even if you believe it is unfair.
  • Follow the officer’s commands.

I Believe the Police Violated My Rights

Police misconduct may not get addressed if you don’t collect evidence or follow certain steps. As such, consider the following advice if you think your rights were violated.


  • When possible, record everything you remember about the incident, including the officer’s badge a patrol car numbers in addition to their agency.
  • Gather witnesses’ contact information.
  • Seek medical attention if you’re injured and take photos and videos of your injuries. Ensure you keep a copy of your medical documents and bills.
  • File a written complaint with the appropriate agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.

Fighting to Protect Clients’ Rights for 40 Combined Years

Our criminal defense lawyers understand that the responsibility of knowing your legal rights and how to handle certain encounters with the police can be overwhelming, especially when you have other priorities on your mind when speaking to law enforcement. As such, we are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding the information above. If you’ve been arrested, you can count on us to aggressively defend your rights and safeguard your freedom at every stage of your case.

Wait no longer to reach out to us online or at (866) 580-3089!