30+ Rights Police Don’t Want You To Know About

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Rights Police Dont Want You To Know About

Understanding your rights in encounters with law enforcement is crucial for protecting yourself and ensuring that your legal protections are upheld. This article outlines 39 rights you have during interactions with the police, derived from U.S. laws and court rulings, which aim to balance law enforcement authority and individual liberties.

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The Rights

  1. Right to Remain Silent: Under the Fifth Amendment, you’re not required to answer questions the police ask you.
  2. Right to Refuse Consent to a Search: Without a warrant, you may refuse searches of your person, car, or home.
  3. Right to Leave: If you’re not under arrest, you can ask if you’re free to go.
  4. Right to a Lawyer: If arrested, you have the right to consult a lawyer before talking to the police.
  5. Right to a Phone Call: Following arrest, you’re entitled to make a phone call.
  6. Right Against Excessive Force: Police must use only the amount of force necessary in a situation.
  7. Right to Know the Charges Against You: If arrested, you have the right to know the reason.
  8. Right to a Public Defender: If you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you.
  9. Right to Document Police Activity: You can record police actions, provided you don’t interfere with their duties.
  10. Right to Refuse Field Sobriety and Portable Breathalyzer Tests: Without legal consequences in most states, but refusal can lead to arrest.
  11. Right to Refuse to Open Your Door: Without a warrant, you’re not obligated to let the police into your home.
  12. Right to Challenge Police Entry: If police enter your home without a warrant, you can challenge it in court.
  13. Right to Avoid Self-Incrimination: You can plead the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering incriminating questions.
  14. Right to Request a Supervisor: You can ask for a police supervisor to be present during your interaction.
  15. Right to Silence After Arrest: You can refuse to speak until you have a lawyer present.
  16. Right to Know Officer’s Identity: You can ask for the names and badge numbers of the officers involved.
  17. Right to Be Secure Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures: Protected under the Fourth Amendment.
  18. Right to Have an Attorney Present During Questioning: Even if you cannot afford one.
  19. Right to Refuse Sign Anything: You’re not required to sign any document without legal counsel.
  20. Right to Be Treated Humanely: Police must ensure your safety and well-being in custody.
  21. Right to See a Judge Promptly: If arrested, you have the right to a speedy initial court appearance.
  22. Right to Bail: Except in certain severe cases, you’re typically entitled to bail.
  23. Right to a Fair Trial: Guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment for criminal prosecutions.
  24. Right to Privacy in Personal Communications: Protected under the Fourth Amendment against unwarranted surveillance.
  25. Right to Be Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty: A foundational principle of the American legal system.
  26. Right to Avoid Double Jeopardy: You can’t be tried twice for the same offense, as per the Fifth Amendment.
  27. Right to Appeal a Conviction: If convicted, you have the right to appeal the decision.
  28. Right to Be Informed of Constitutional Rights: Known as Miranda rights during an arrest.
  29. Right to a Speedy Trial: Ensures you’re not held for a long time before trial.
  30. Right to Be Tried in Public: Closed trials are an exception, not the rule.
  31. Right to an Impartial Jury: Ensures fairness in the trial process.
  32. Right to Confront Witnesses: You can question the prosecution’s witnesses.
  33. Right to Compulsory Process: You can compel witnesses to testify on your behalf.
  34. Right to Not Wear Handcuffs in Court: Unless deemed necessary for safety.
  35. Right to Have Police Misconduct Records Admitted in Court: When relevant to the case.
  36. Right to Silence on Stand: You can choose not to testify in your own defense to avoid self-incrimination.
  37. Right to a Jury Trial for Serious Offenses: For charges that could result in significant jail time.
  38. Right to Publicly Accessible Court Records: Most court documents are public records.
  39. Right to Be Free from Punishment Without Due Process: Protected under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

What Are Your Rights When Arrested?

When you’re arrested, you have rights protected under the U.S. Constitution, specifically by the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. Here’s a breakdown of those rights:

  1. Probable Cause or Warrant: Police must have a valid reason, known as probable cause, or a warrant to arrest you. Arrests without probable cause or a warrant are generally considered unlawful unless under rare circumstances.
  2. Right to Remain Silent: Under the Fifth Amendment, you don’t have to speak to the police, even after being arrested. You may need to identify yourself, but beyond that, you can assert your right to remain silent.
  3. Request an Attorney: The Sixth Amendment guarantees your right to an attorney in criminal cases. You must clearly state your desire to speak with a lawyer, which stops police from questioning you further until your lawyer is present.
  4. Miranda Rights: The Supreme Court’s Miranda v. Arizona ruling requires police to inform you of your rights upon arrest. This includes your right to remain silent and that anything you say can be used against you in court. You’re also informed of your right to an attorney and that if you can’t afford one, the court will appoint one for you.

Police Stop You In Public

If stopped by the police in public:

  • Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent.
  • Passengers can ask if they are free to leave; if the answer is yes, they may leave.
  • When stopped, it’s advisable to stop the car safely, turn off the engine, turn on internal lights if it’s dark, and place your hands where they can be seen.
  • You’re required to show your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance upon request.
  • If arrested, state that you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t provide any explanations or excuses without a lawyer present.

Police Are At Your Door

If police come to your door:

  • You’re not required to let them in unless they have a warrant that specifically lists your address for a search or names you for arrest.
  • Ask to see the warrant through the door or window before allowing entry.
  • Even with a warrant, you have the right to remain silent. It’s best not to engage in conversation and to observe their actions quietly if they conduct a search.

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