When stopped by a police officer, use common sense. It is not the best time to back talk, argue or have an attitude. Do not escalate the situation.

Police officers have the duty and responsibility to protect and provide safety for everyone. Therefore, it is important that police treat the public with K’é, courtesy and respect to prevent situations from getting out of control.

It is important to think carefully about your words, your body movement and your emotions when you are talking to a police officer.

Whatever you say can be used against you in a court of law. Back-talking, arguing and even body language can give a police officer reason to make an arrest.

Always keep your hands where police can see them. Never touch a police officer or run from a police officer.

If you think your rights are being violated do not try to take matters into your own hands. There is a time to facilitate your grievance formally.

If you believe you were mistreated by a police officer, you have the right to speak to an attorney. You have the right to contest your arrest or detainment in a court of law and you also have the right to file a complaint with the police department’s internal affairs. Your personal safety and the safety of others nearby are important.

A police officer has the right and responsibility to stop you if you appear to be involved in suspicious activity, if they see you break the law or if they have a warrant.

If you are stopped in your vehicle, a police officer has the right to ask for your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. It is your responsibility to show them. If a police offer asks other questions, you have the right not to answer, but this could cause the police officer to suspect you are involved in some illegal activity. If arrested, you have the responsibility to cooperate, not resist.

If a police officer asks to search your car, you the right to say no unless they a have a search warrant. You have the right to see the search warrant. However, there are no exceptions—if a police officer has probable cause, he or she does not need a warrant to search your car. A police officer does not need a warrant to search your car if you are arrested.

The police officer has the right and responsibility to conduct a complete inventory of your car if it is impounded.

If you are given a traffic ticket, it is your responsibility to sign the ticket. Otherwise, you could be arrested. You always have the right to appear in court and contest the charges.

If you are suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol and you refuse to submit to standard tests, driving privileges may be suspended, and if convicted, subject to harsher penalties.

If you are arrested, a police officer must advise you have the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney to represent you for free. Within a reasonable time of your arrest, you have the right to call an attorney, a bondsman or a relative. Any communication between you and your attorney is confidential and the police cannot listen.

Source: The American Civil Liberties Union