You must know your rights if you are stopped by a police officer or arrested. You don’t give up your legal rights when this happens, and knowing your rights helps you get the best possible outcome.
Being stopped or questioned by a police officer is never a pleasant experience, even if you know that you have not done anything wrong. However, if a police officer approaches you, he or she thinks you may be guilty. The officer is focusing on solving the case, and not on providing you with an overview of your legal rights.
You need to know your rights in the state of Missouri for such situations. It is appropriate for you to remind the police officer of your rights in a calm and non-confrontational manner.
What to do if you are stopped or questioned
- Always remain calm and do not create a reason for further suspicion. For example, you should keep your hands in full view of the officer.
- Do not try to run – instead, calmly ask if you are free to leave.
- If the officer states that you are under arrest, you are legally entitled to know the reason.
- Identify yourself with your driver’s license and registration. If you are not driving, you can use other identification, such as a student ID.
- Remind the officer that you have the right to remain silent.
- State that you are entitled to have a lawyer present if you are to be subjected to questioning.
- Refuse a search of your car or home unless your lawyer is present and/or a search warrant is provided.
Now you know what you should do if you are ever stopped for questioning. We hope that this gives you some peace of mind. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty!
Please note: This article is meant to serve as a general guide only and in no way means to provide legal advice. Contact St. Charles, MO, attorney Bill Byrnes at the Byrnes Law Firm for more information.