Getting stopped by the police, FBI or ICE, whether on foot or in a vehicle, can be stressful. It’s important to know your rights.

  • First, you have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, you have to say so. Just remaining quiet is not the same thing as exercising your constitutional “right to remain silent.”

You don’t have to answer any questions, and if you don’t want to, you have to let the police know. You can tell the cop firmly and politely that you want to remain silent and don’t want to make any statements or answer any questions without speaking with a lawyer.

Even if you are not a U.S. citizen, you still have the right to remain silent, and don’t have to explain your immigration status. If you are not a U.S. citizen, an immigration agent or officer has the right to request your immigration papers, and you must provide them if you have them with you. Don’t lie about your citizenship or show fake documents. This will only lead to more problems down the road.

  • Second, you have the right to refuse to permit a search of yourself, your bags, your car, or your house. Cops have all sorts of ways to try to convince someone to agree to a search. Remember, its you person, your car, and your house.It’s you choice whether to consent to a search. If you don’t want to give your consent, don’t.
  • Third, if you are not under arrest, you have the right to peacefully and calmly leave. You can ask the cop if you are free to leave. If you are, you have the right to do so. If you are under arrest, you have the right to know the charges.

If you are arrested, you have the right to a lawyer, and should ask for one right away. If you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you free of charge.

  • Finally, don’t make things worse by interfering or obstructing the cops in their duties, getting angry, loud or rude, lying or giving fake documents, or fleeing or running away.

If you are arrested, do not resist. Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t try to talk yourself out of being arrested. It won’t work, and you may end up saying things that will be used against you later.

You have the right to make one local phone call. Don’t talk about the facts of your case on that phone call.

If you have been arrested in Maryland, D.C. or Virginia, you can call my office 24/7 to get help. We accept collect phone call from all jails and detention centers.

Paul Zukerberg

Toll Free: 888.473.1707

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