Keys to protecting your rights:
- Do not answer questions without your attorney. Seriously, this is so important. When a police office asks you a question, the answer to that question could have a significant impact on your freedom in the near future. Even simply innocent questions - did you see the game last night? Don't answer it. Say simply: I do not answer questions without my attorney present. Practice it: I do not answer questions without my attorney present.
- Do Not consent to any searches. If an officer says, "Do you mind if I take a quick around?" What he means is I am going to search for anything I can use to put you in jail. Say no. You can't physically stop the officer from searching. But if you don't grant consent, they may not search. And your attorney may be able to get anything they find thrown out as a result. Remember: I do not consent to any searches. Practice it: I do not consent to any searches.
- If an officer has stopped you - as they like to say "made contact with you" - you have every right to decline that encounter. Just ask the officer: Are you detaining me or am I free to go? If the officer says he or she is detaining you see tips one and two above and call a lawyer ASAP. If the officer says you are free to go or he is not detaining you, walk away. If the officer refuses to answer the question, you are being detained until you are clearly told that you are free to leave.