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Know Your Rights

What to do if you're stopped by police, immigration agents of the FBI
By the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
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Note: The information in this page is not intended as legal advice. Produced by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on June 2010

We rely on the police to keep us safe and treat us all fairly, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion. This page provides tips for interacting with police and understanding your rights, and responsibilities.

Your Rights

  • 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 immediately.

  • Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.

Your Responsibilities

  • Do stay calm and be polite. 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 this Office if you feel your rights have been violated.

What to Do in Special Situations

Below is a list special circumstances involving police, immigration agents, or the FBI.

Click "More information" for a more detailed description about your rights and responsibilities (how to act, what to do) in any of them.

Listed in alphabetical order.