» General

Can the police search my house, apartment or office?

Depends. Your home can only be searched by police if you consent or unless they have a search warrant.

Note:  A roommate or guest can legally consent to a search of your house if the police believe that person has the authority to give consent. Police also need a warrant to search an office, but your employer can consent to a search of your workspace without your permission.

Can I talk to a lawyer before answering questions?

Yes. You have a constitutional right to consult with a lawyer before answering questions.

Police questioning should cease as soon as you request an attorney. If they continue to ask questions, you still have the right to remain silent. If you do have a lawyer, keep his or her business card with you.

Do I have to answer questions asked by police officers?

No. You have a constitutional right to remain silent. You cannot be punished for refusing to answer a question. Consult with your attorney before agreeing to answer any questions.

How can I best protect myself when confronted by police?

  • Remain calm and cooperative.
  • Do NOT argue, run, or resist the police.
  • Do NOT speak to the police. Say, “I would like to remain silent.”
  • You do NOT have to agree to a search. Say, “I do not consent to a search.”
  • Ask, “Am I being detained?”
    • If not – you are free to leave.
    • If yes – ask if you are being arrested– ask for a lawyer immediately.
  • Do NOT provide any statement until you speak to your lawyer

What are my basic rights when confronted by police?

  • 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 a search of yourself, your car, or your home.
  • If you are not under arrest, you have a right to leave.
  • If you are arrested, you have the right to a lawyer. Ask for one immediately.