Many people do not realize they have rights if they are stopped by the police in Chicago or elsewhere.
If you are stopped in a car when a police officer initially pulls you over what you do and say can have a major impact on subsequent legal proceedings.
If you see a police car is following you with its emergency lights flashing and siren on you should safely and promptly pull over to a safe place and come to a complete stop.
When you stopped by a police officer, you should be careful about what you say. Anything you say before or after an arrest can be used against you.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, your best protection is to invoke your right to silence. However, you must verbalize your right to remain silent.
The 2013 case of Salinas v. Texas established that a defendant must invoke his or her right to remain silent to benefit from it. You should tell an officer you are going to remain silent and then say nothing further.
You have the right to remain silent when being detained or after you have been arrested by a police officer. You should not volunteer information if the police officer asks if you know why he or she pulled you over.
Anything you say can be used against you. If you do not incriminate yourself, a police officer will have an uphill task wrongly accusing you of a crime.
Anything you say or do can and likely will be used against you at any point by a police officer.
You also have a right to ask the police officer if you are free to go. If you do not ask this, the police officer may think you are voluntarily remaining to talk. If the police officer says you are being retained, you have a right to say you are going to remain silent and will not answer questions.
You also have a right not to be searched unless the officer has a search warrant. If an officer asks your permission to be searched, you should politely decline. The officer would not be asking you if he had the right to search you.
If a police officer ignores your wishes and carried out a search, you should firmly say you don’t consent to a search. While a law enforcement officer has a right to pat you down to feel for weapons, he is not allowed to go in your pockets and pull out property. You are not obliged to remove anything or to take your shoes and socks off.
There is widespread ignorance in the community about what to do if you are pulled over by a police officer. In Illinois, more than 190,000 students are enrolled in a school driver’s education programs which contains a section on what happens if you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer.
Your rights if you are stopped by police are important to your subsequent case. At Abdallah Law, we will vigorously defend your rights. See our case results here or call us at (312) 229-0008.