Because we place such an intrinsically high value on our civil liberties in America, we all need to stay informed about how to exercise them. While in many instances the police prove an utterly necessary facet of our justice system, they don’t always look out for your rights; our laws don’t perfectly reflect desirable values and, every blue moon, an officer might knowingly break the rules. Here, we’ve gone over how to exercise your rights during a traffic stop:
Never say anything you don’t have to:
You have the right to remain silent, even before it gets read to you (which it won’t until after the arrest). The Supreme Court has stated that if you want to exercise this right, you must say out loud “I am going to remain silent”. Police can, and often do, use anything you say against you in court; if they take it out of context, the judge will believe them over you.
Don’t ever consent to a police search:
If a police officer feels they do not have the right to search you, they will ask. The 4th Amendment protects you from unwarranted searches. Even if you have nothing to hide, you should state “I do not consent to this search”; this efficacy of this amendment has become diluted over the years – you can do your part to bring it back. Remember, if they continue to search after you tell them you don’t consent, do not try to stop them; legally, the court should throw the case out.
See if they intend to detain you:
Police can’t legally detain you for no reason. To find out whether you can leave or not, simply ask “Am I free to go?”. They may skirt the question, but just keep asking it every so often. Eventually, they will let you go or begin the process of detaining you; either way, you will know where you stand. Should you find out they intend to arrest you, again state “I am going to remain silent” and wait patiently.
If you should still find yourself in jail after all of this, Bail City Bail Bonds can help. To find out more about our services, don’t hesitate to call us at (303) 573-1114.