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What are my rights after being stopped by the cops?

Many Oklahomans have no idea how they should react if they get detained by the police. In their urgency to end the encounter, they stutter, stammer and agree to all sorts of requests from the authorities.

What they actually wind up doing is handing the police and prosecutor a gift-wrapped case against themselves. Don't be that defendant. Learn how to exert your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights after being stopped by the police.

Don't take the bait

Cops will pull a driver over and say, "Do you know why I stopped you?" There is only one answer to this question: "No, officer."

Do not ask why. Don't apologize, even if you just blew through a stop sign doing 40 mph. Do not — under any circumstances — offer your opinion of why you were stopped. Any response given other than, "No, officer," will be used as evidence against you.

Don't consent to warrantless searches

Remember that you have a constitutional right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. The same applies to requests to search your home, car or person without a warrant.

Be aware, however, that police are permitted to "Terry frisk" someone they have detained in order to be sure the person isn't armed. The name is derived from the Supreme Court case Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1.

Police use Terry frisks to dodge violations of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches.

Make them get the warrant. It's your right. Probably they will, but maybe they won't. It's simply not true that those who have nothing to hide will refuse to consent to a search. Random searches and interrogations are degrading and dehumanizing. Why would you consent to that type of violation?

As always, when detained by police, remain calm and non-confrontational while you politely ask to contact a criminal defense attorney.

Source: The Free Thought Project, "7 Ways Police Will Break the Law, Threaten, or Lie to You to Get What they Want," Larken Rose, accessed June 23, 2017

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