You already know that American citizens have rights during an encounter with the police. Unfortunately, many people fail to exercise these rights during a traffic stop or when the cops show up on their doorstep.
Police officers in Raleigh and other North Carolina cities must comply with the law in all search and seizure operations. You, too, should follow a few guidelines during encounters with law enforcement.
Why is your conduct so important?
If you do or say something out of order when confronted by the police, it can worsen your situation, even more so if an arrest occurs. When you are combative or argumentative, you could inadvertently compromise your rights.
According to the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), following these best practices during police encounters can protect your rights.
- Remain calm and be polite
- Avoid interfering and obstructing officers
- Refrain from lying or misleading officers
If the police come to your home:
- Ask for a warrant
- Read the warrant thoroughly (search warrants contain specific details about the places and things the police can search)
- Avoid making statements
If the police stop your car:
- Show proof of insurance, your driving license and vehicle registration
- Decide if you want to consent to a search (you do not have to, but they may search anyway)
- Remain silent and avoid making statements
If placed under arrest:
- Avoid resisting or fighting officers
- Remain silent
- Avoid making statements or decisions alone
- Seek legal guidance (you can make a phone call)
- Avoid signing and saying anything without legal representation
Whether you encounter the police because they suspect illegal drug activity or driving while intoxicated, you always have rights as an American. Learning more about your criminal defense options is also wise when facing legal hardships.