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3 constitutional rights to remember during a police stop

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | Criminal Defense

A lot of people do not understand their constitutional rights. Yet, knowing those rights and remembering them could be of great importance in dealings with the police.

Here are the three main ones you’d need to know at this time:

1. The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silent

You must identify yourself if the police ask you. Other than that there is no requirement to answer any of their questions and it’s often better you don’t, as your words could be used against you.

Rather than just stay quiet, it is better to tell the police you are exercising your right to remain silent. That should stop them from asking any more questions.

2. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unwarranted searches

The police are only allowed to conduct searches in limited circumstances when they pull a vehicle over. One is with the person’s permission and they often get this by asking. 

You’d think it is easy to just say no, but many people automatically answer yes if the police ask things like, “Can you show me what’s in your bag?” or “Would you mind popping the trunk open for me?” Tell the police you do not consent to a search, but, if they do it anyway, just let them get on with it and mention it to your legal representative later.

Other times the police can legitimately search your vehicle with an appropriate warrant or when they see something in plain view, such as a wrap of drugs on the floor that gives them probable cause to believe you’ve committed a crime.

3. The First Amendment gives you the right to record interactions with the police

The police might not like you recording them, but the Constitution allows you to do so, provided it does not get in the way of their operation. 

Learning more about your rights is wise if you had an encounter with the police that did not go well.

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