Knowing what to do when authorities stop your car, visit you at home or otherwise communicate with you may help you avoid facing legal trouble and associated repercussions. Your rights differ to some degree based on where you are during your interactions with authorities. So, it is important that you understand how your rights differ in each unique situation.
It almost always pays to remain calm and polite during your interactions with law enforcement. Here is what else you should know about specific interactions with authorities.
Your rights in your vehicle
When a law enforcement officer pulls you over, you maintain the right to remain silent. You also maintain the right to refuse search requests of your vehicle unless the officer has a warrant or probable cause to search it. If you plan to exercise either of these rights during the traffic stop, be polite in saying so.
Your rights at your home
Unless a law enforcement officer who arrives at your door has a warrant, you do not have to allow him or her inside and should think twice before doing so. Even if the officer has a warrant, know that it may only give him or her authorization to search a particular part of your home. You also retain your right to remain silent under these circumstances, and it often pays to exercise it.
If a law enforcement official violates any of your rights, write down everything possible relating to the incident. Note the officer’s name and badge number, and if any witnesses were present during the encounter, make sure to secure their contact information, too.