Someone riding along the streets of Kentucky may look in the rearview mirror to see flashing police lights behind them. No matter if the person has done anything wrong, an awareness of legal rights is necessary to avoid self-incrimination.
People in the U.S. have rights when pulled over by police. Keeping these rights in mind could keep a run-in with law enforcement from spiraling out of control.
Set the right tone
It is best to immediately and safely pull over as soon as possible. Drivers should cut the engine off and have their license and proof of insurance ready for the officer when she or he arrives at the window.
Drivers who know they have done nothing wrong may feel tempted to have a conversation with the officer. All drivers, no matter if they are under arrest, can exercise their right to remain silent. Other than answering identifying questions, it is a good idea to say nothing to the police.
Record the interactions
While more police officers have body cameras to record interactions with civilians, civilians should still record the officer’s actions with their phones. Doing so is legal. That said, drivers should mount phones or have them out of their hands while filming or otherwise recording police interactions. This better ensures filming does not become an interference, which can lead to trouble.
Refuse a search
Officers do not have the right to search a person’s vehicle without her or his express permission or a warrant. Alternatively, police can search a vehicle without permission if they spot something illegal out in the open.