What to do when stopped by officers
Whether you have done anything wrong or not, dealing with law enforcement is always a stressful situation. If you have past experiences, they may impact how you feel about officers and possibly influence future experiences with them. It is important that regardless of how you feel, you should calmly approach any interaction with officers.
The ACLU explains that while you have rights during any interaction with law enforcement, you also have to be aware of the risks of resisting or acting in a combative way. A situation can escalate quickly if you do not follow the instructions an officer gives you.
Maintain your rights
There are some rights that you can assert without causing issues. You never have to talk or answer questions that could incriminate you. If an officer arrests you, you should immediately ask for an attorney. This will let officers know that you are asserting your rights and not trying to be difficult.
You should follow any directions that an officer gives you, especially if he or she is insistent. If you feel during the interaction that the officer violated your rights, then make sure to gather information so that you can make a report later.
Do not resist
The worst thing you can do is get angry or argue with an officer. Follow all directions that the officer gives you. Make sure that you do not make any sudden moves, and do not try to leave the scene or get physical with an officer. You could face additional charges if an officer feels that you are resisting arrest or being combative.
Many encounters with officers will go smoothly. While you may end up under arrest, you can often avoid escalating the situation. Even if you think the situation is unfair or the officer is out of line, you always have the option later to handle any injustice that you feel happened.
Neil S. Ruskin
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Brooklyn, NY 11201
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