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Know Your Rights

What You Need to Know When Interacting with Police

Mpls Community Defense

You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that

right, say so out loud.

You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your
car or your home.
If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one
Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you do have
constitutional rights.



Do stay calm.
Do not interfere with or obstruct the police.
Do not lie or give false documents.
Do prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.
Do remember the details of the encounter.
Do file a written complaint or call your local ACLU if you feel your
rights have been violated.


1. Do not curse at or around the officer. You can be arrested if
someone decides they want to press charges.

2. It is not against the law to get an attitude with police. Do so at

your own discretion.

3. It is not illegal to give police the middle finger. Again, do so at

your own discretion.

4. Keep police on a need to know basis. Do not offer small talk,

pleasantries, salutations or any other unnecessary exchanges
with police.

5. Police are trained to give orders, not make requests. This does
not mean that you don't have the right to refuse.


Stay calm. Dont run. Dont argue, resist or obstruct the police, even if
you are innocent or police are violating your rights. Keep your hands
where police can see them.
Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently
walk away. If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why.
You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for
refusing to answer questions. If you wish to remain silent, tell the
officer out loud.
You do NOT have to consent to a search of yourself or your
belongings, but police may pat down your clothing if they suspect a
weapon. You have the right to refuse consent for any further search. If
you do consent, it can affect you later in court.


Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible. Turn off the car,
turn on the internal light, open the window part way and place your
hands on the wheel.
Upon request, show police your drivers license, registration and proof
of insurance.
If an officer or immigration agent asks to look inside your car, you
can refuse to consent to the search. But if police believe your car
contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your
Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you
are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says
yes, sit silently or calmly leave. Even if the officer says no, you have the
right to remain silent.
If you are a passenger and the officer asks to see your I.D. You have
the right to decline without repercussion unless the officer suspects
your involvement in a crime.


There is no LEGAL requirement to identify yourself. There are some
things that are not permissible.
1) Walking or running away without acknowledging the officer's
request may be deemed misdemeanour "fleeing on foot"
2) Giving a false identification information to an officer is
considered a crime.
If an officer asks for identification, ask if you are free to leave. If he says
"yes" then you can walk away. If he says "no", it is an assumed arrest
and you will need to show ID.
* MN Law requires that you present a valid license when asked if:
Carrying a firearm
Operating a motor vehicle


If an FBI agent comes to your home or workplace, you do not have to
answer any questions. Tell the agent you want to speak to a lawyer
If you are asked to meet with FBI agents for an interview, you have the
right to say you do not want to be interviewed. If you agree to an
interview, have a lawyer present. You do not have to answer any
questions you feel uncomfortable answering, and can say that you will
only answer questions on a specific topic.


Do not resist arrest, Do not admit guilt.
Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately.
Dont give any explanations or excuses. If you cant pay for a lawyer,
you have the right to a free one. Dont say anything, sign anything or
make any decisions without a lawyer.
You have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot
listen if you call a lawyer.
Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.
Memorize the phone numbers of your family and your lawyer. Make
emergency plans if you have children or take medication.
Special considerations for non-citizens:
Ask your lawyer about the effect of a criminal conviction or plea
on your immigration status.
Dont discuss your immigration status with anyone but your
While you are in jail, an immigration agent may visit you. Do not
answer questions or sign anything before talking to a lawyer.
Read all papers fully. If you do not understand or cannot read the
papers, tell the officer you need an interpreter


* In 1900 the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the earlier
1893 Plummer v. State ruling by the Supreme Court of Indiana that a
man faced with the prospect of unlawful arrest that is, an armed
abduction has a lawful right to use any appropriate means, including
lethal force, to defend himself against the unlawful arrest. Further, other
people witnessing an unlawful arrest possess the same Common Law
right to prevent such an arrest, just as they would a kidnapping or
assault, using lethal force if necessary. Unlawful arrests include:

Arrest of the wrong person

Arrest of a person without probable cause that that person
committed a crime
Arrest without the mention of the suspects Miranda Rights
Arrest without just cause
Arrest with an arrest warrant that was obtained with false
information given to the court by a police officer
Arrest by incompetence
Arrest for personal gain
Arrest based on race
Arrest based on pure malice

* For educational purposes only

You have rights, including a constitutional right to not be unreasonably

stopped, questioned or searched. This means that your right to not be
unreasonably stopped and searched is guaranteed by the constitution
of the United States. When being questioned by an officer, you may at
any time ask if you are free to go or if you are being detained. The
Supreme Court recently ruled that silence can imply guilt, so make sure
you invoke your right to remain silent should it become necessary to
do so. To do this, simply state I invoke my right to remain silent. If
being detained or arrested, remember to assert your rights, primarily:
Invoke your right to remain silent until you speak with your attorney.
Do not consent to a search or seizure and if necessary verbally assert
that you do NOT consent. They will probably do it anyway but make
sure you still assert that. Make sure your family and friends understand
that no one should let law enforcement search your property without a
warrant or exigent circumstances if probable cause exists. The Supreme
Court recently ruled that it only takes one resident agreeing (even if the
other disagrees) to a search to allow it.


Remember: Dont physically resist officers or threaten to file a
complaint. Be sure to record everything with cell phone or other
recording device. If you are unable to, urge any witnesses to record for
Write down everything you remember, including officers badge and
patrol car numbers, which agency the officers were from, and any other
details. Get contact information for witnesses. If you are injured, take
photographs of your injuries (but seek medical attention first).
File a written complaint with the agencys internal affairs division or
civilian complaint board. In most cases, you can file a complaint
anonymously if you wish.
Call your local ACLU or visit