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What To Do If Pulled Over By The Police

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

Your rights

  • Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent.

  • If you’re a passenger, you can ask if you’re free to leave. If yes, you may silently leave.

How to reduce risk to yourself

  • Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible.

  • Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way, and place your hands on the wheel. If you’re in the passenger seat, put your hands on the dashboard.

  • Upon request, show police your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.

  • Avoid making sudden movements, and keep your hands where the officer can see them.

What to do if you are arrested or detained

  • Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t give any explanations or excuses. Don’t say anything, sign anything, or make any decisions without a lawyer.

  • If you have been arrested by police, you have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer. They can and often will listen to a call made to anyone else.

If you believe your rights were violated

  • Write down everything you remember, including officers’ badges and patrol car numbers, which agency the officers were from, and any other details. Get contact information for witnesses.

  • If you’re injured, seek medical attention immediately and take photographs of your injuries.

  • File a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board. In most cases, you can file a complaint anonymously if you wish.


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