You have certain rights when you interact with law enforcement officials, and understanding what these rights are may help you avoid conflict and, in some cases, even criminal charges. The rights you have when communicating with authorities vary based on where they stop you, so it is important that you understand what they are in different situations.
Regardless of if authorities stop you at home, in your car or out in public, remember that it almost always benefits you to remain calm, collected and respectful. Keeping that in mind, it is important to know your rights in the following situations.
When authorities come to your home
You do not have a legal obligation to let authorities enter your home unless they have a warrant. If they claim that they do have one, it is completely acceptable to ask them to slip it under your door so you have a chance to review it before letting them in.
If they do have a warrant, you must let them in. Once they enter, you have the right to remain silent, and you should use it. Keep tabs on what they do and what they take, but keep quiet while doing so.
When authorities pull you over
You also maintain the right to remain silent during a traffic stop. When the law enforcement official asks for your license and registration, you must produce it.
However, you do not have a duty to answer any questions he or she asks, even if the stop leads to an arrest. Tell the law enforcement official you are exercising your right to remain silent and need to contact a lawyer.
When authorities stop you in public
You also have a right to remain silent when stopped in public, but you should inform the law enforcement official who stops you that you are exercising it. You have no obligation to tell authorities where you are going or what you are doing. You also do not have to answer any queries about your citizenship status.