Being arrested is frightening, especially when law enforcement officers use intimidation tactics to persuade you to talk. Recent cases of police brutality and necessary lethal force have many people scared to come into contact with police officers. It’s more important than ever to understand your basic human rights when dealing with law enforcement during an arrest.

You Do Not Have to Speak

You do not have to speak to law enforcement officers. When asked for your identification, you may simply hand them your driver’s license. If your driver’s license is hidden, ask them if it’s okay to retrieve it. They may think you are reaching for a weapon if you reach into your back pocket without warning. When asked any questions at all, such as where you’re going, what you were doing at a particular time, etc., you do not have to answer. You may remain silent, or you may simply say “no comment.”

You Have the Right to Decline a Search Under Certain Circumstances

Police cannot search your vehicle, your home, or your person without probable cause or a warrant. If the police ask for consent to a search, ask them if they have either probable cause or a warrant. If not, you may decline the search. Probable cause could be something as simple as the scent of marijuana, or seeing something in the window of your home that is illegal or cause for concern. If the law enforcement officers insist on searching without probable cause or a warrant, let them know that you want it on record that you do not consent to the search. However, you cannot physically prevent the search from occurring.

You Have the Right to a Lawyer

You have the right to contact your lawyer. Do not answer questions or say anything without your lawyer present, and it’s in your best interest to exercise your right. Law enforcement officers will often twist words, even if you are innocent and are telling the truth.

T. Martin Knopes is an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney who will advocate for your rights after an arrest. You do not have to go through this frightening and frustrating situation alone. Contact Attorney Knopes today for a consultation to discuss your case and begin forming a solid defense strategy by calling (850) 683-0700.