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How to deal with police officers and know your rights

Updated on May 11, 2010

Know your rights!

Police officers are not your friends, they have no intention of being your friend although they may seem friendly enough. When a cop approaches some one or pulls someone up for a traffic stop, they are on a hunting expedition to find anything they can against a person. Because the more fines cops hand out, the more things that they find out and figure out, the more likely that they are to get promoted.

Most cops are just doing their jobs, but there is the odd one who's got a particularly mean streak. A police officers job is to 'protect and serve.', but this also involves giving out fines, (traffic cops generally have a minimum amount of fines that they must allocate per day- in order for the government to get their cut.) Lying to the public, (by law police officers are entitled to lie in order to gain information.) Sometimes police officers even display unjust behaviour which they are certainly not entitled to do. People have been beaten to death by cops, they be can rude and the odd, control hungry one might get a bit 'rough', that's one reason why it's not a good idea to piss them off to begin with.

Don't forget that police officers are trained to detect lies, decipher body language, and they are trained to be manipulative, some of them are professional con-artists.

Never engage in a 'friendly conversation' with a cop, more often than not, when a cop attempts to engage in 'friendly conversation', their actually digging, digging for information about something to ping you for, or maybe information about someone that they think your might be linked to.Avoid saying anything more than necessary to a cop, and never swear at a police officer or address them disrespectfully. If you are rude to a police officer, it's likely that they will find more than one thing to fine you for.

Regardless of where you are and what you're doing when a police officer asks you for I.D, you must provide correct I.D. It's an offence to tell a police officer incorrect information, and if you do, expect to be charged for it and it will go on your criminal record. Police officers also have the right to ask you for you phone-number and address, you must answer these questions truthfully also. Besides those specific questions, you are not obliged to answer any other questions that a police officer.may ask.

When you are approached by a cop and asked for I.D, they must have a rational clear reason why they are singling you out. You should be able to,( if you CHOOSE to), ask the cop why they pulled you over or approached you, the police officer then should be able to give you a reasonable explanation. If the police officer can't or doesn't provide a reasonable explanation, you may ask, 'Am i free to go now?' If you have been approached by a cop and asked for I.D, you have provided it, and the cop continues to question you further, it's always best to ask, 'Am i free to go now?' Don't allow cops to pry at you for personal information, they have no right to do so. Or of course you could practice your right to remain silent, but that's likely to anger a cop when he's in your face asking questions.

Remember, any thing you DO say can and will be held against you.

When a cop is questioning you and you are not answering his questions, he may try to force you to answer his questions by threatening you. More often than not these threats are pretty empty, they're mere lies to scare you into talking, so they can do some digging. A few common lies they tell to trick you into talking:

'You're not going anywhere until you answer my questions'/'You must answer my questions.'

'I'll have no choice but to arrest you if you don't answer my questions.'

'You will be charged with resisting arrest if you don't answer my questions.'

'We have evidence on you that will be used if you don't answer my questions.'

Police officers are trained to twist their words manipulatively, and there's many other lies they will tell to get digging access. The important thing to remember is that the above statements are in fact lies. They may also try to make 'deals' with you, IE: 'Tell me what i want to know and I'll go easy on you for all the fines i should be giving you.'
A police officer has no authority to make such deals, the only person whom is in entitled to make compromise deals is a prosecutor.'

If a police officer attempts to arrest you, they must have reason to believe that you have broken the law or that you have intentions of breaking the law. The police officer should be able to tell you exactly why you are being arrested. If you are arrested, ask for a lawyer, and don't say anything to the cops until you have spoken with a lawyer.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, ask for a public defender, which should cost you nothing. If you end up with a public defender, state to the police officers that your public defender is not representing you. Make it clear the the public defender is serving as your council only. If you end up having to go to court, it's best to acquire a lawyer for this date. A lawyer has a much better chance at defending you than a public defender or yourself.

When you are arrested, officers have the right to seize any items you may have on you. You should receive a receipt for every item seized, and your property should be returned to you upon release. Unless of course, you happen to have drugs in your pockets, you won't be seeing those again. But if an officer asks you to empty your pockets and you haven't been arrested yet, you are not obliged to.

If a police officer happens to turn up on your door-step, avoid opening the door. When people have opened their doors to cops, cops have sometimes been known to push their way on through and begin searching through peoples belongings without authorization. So if they turn up on your door step, say to them through the door, 'I have nothing to say to you.' If they don't have a warrant, they must leave. If they do have a warrant, they will say so, and you must let them in. Ask to see the warrant and check that the date, and your address is correct, and that it is signed. If anything on the warrant is incorrect, tell them to leave and come back with some real evidence. For a police officer to attain a search warrant, they must prove to a judge that they have evidence that someone has broken the law, or intends to. As it's not necessarily simple for police officers to attain search warrants, they have been know to fabricate them.

If you have been pulled over by a police officer in your car, they are allowed to search your car without a warrant if either. a) They 'think' they can smell weed, or think that you are on drugs. B) Because they have reason to believe that you have been drink driving. Otherwise, they have no right to search your car and you may refuse.

If you ever feel that a police officer is abusing your rights, ask him to call his 'supervisor'. Also you have the right to ask the police officer for his name, rank, station, and station phone number. If you feel you have been treated unfairly, you acquire this information from the police officer and report him to the station.


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      This is the most ignorant article o have ever read in my life. You step in the shoes of a police officer and see if you feel the same way.

    • jose7polanco profile image

      Jose Misael Polanco 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      police officer can walk to anyone and ask for ID for no reason other than just to know their identification. So bad for individual intrusion and so good for public safety. Im glad about it because they made a big raid in my neighborhood plagued by violence and drugs. You are not gonna believe how much cars they towed and how much wanted people love to walk around my neighborhood. We sleep a little more in peace now, no more car theft or drive by shooting, at least for a while. Compton, CA

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Can a police officer look up your id to see where you live, or use there power to look up your information to harras you, possibly use retired police officers?

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 

      6 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      Thank you Hope. There are good AND bad in all professions. Just like the rest of us police officers are human and some are not any better than the persons they arrest. However, they are few and far between, please do not judge all by the same twisted ruler. I have sons who are in the military and in law enforcement and they are fine, helpful men. I resent them being called con artists and liars and bullies. They have a job to do. Without them and their service, we would be living like animals. I would dare any of us to walk one day in their shoes and do a better job. Not all departments have quotas and most hold their officers to a higher standard than our ministers!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i have been pulled over a few times for speeding. each time the police officer had been polite, informed me the reason they pulled me over. i have gotten the tickets which was my fault. and then upon walking away from my car they stated be careful and don't speed. other friends of mine have never had any rude cops pull them over. it seems that people who have problems with cops most of the time have had some type of problems with the law. cops are people doing their jobs. remember teachers, doctors, lawyers, restaurant employees are good people, but there are jerks in those types of jobs also. there is good and bad in every line of work.

    • profile image

      thomasina wand 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for the info. So many people are ignorant to this. I was stopped by two cops for no reason. Tags, insurance, and registration were good and they ran the tags first so they knew that. They searched the driver and me the passenger. They searched my purse and when I asked why they cursed at me and were very disrespectful. I have always been pro-cop but not now.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      cops cant do anything if your house is robbed, they don't bust out the television super forensics kit and paint for fingerprints, you are just screwed.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      So far i've seen nice cops all the time, but then again I live in the South.

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What is true for police officers is also true for soldiers, that many of them are good, noble people but the inherent power that comes with the job at times attracts violent men and sociopaths.

    • marcel285 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from New Zealand

      dssurfsca...As you probably realize, and not saying cops are bad, coz when shit goes down, ie: your house gets robbed who you going to call?..Buuut yeah they are trained con i say, they twist their words..They are allowed to lie to us, but it is an offense fpr us to lie to them..all comes backe to what this hub is about..know your rights!

    • masona1 profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow this is a great hub, I learned a lot. Thanks

    • ddsurfsca profile image

      deb douglas 

      8 years ago from Oxnard

      Good hub, and very true. The cops came to my door, and I was not home. They went to the office of the building to try to get the manager to open my door, right as I came home. I knew from past experience that they would do more than just see that my sone was not there. I told them that if they promised to stay in the hallway (I lived in a single room at the time) they could see he was not there but I did not want my house torn up. They agreed. there were three of them. As soon as I opened the door, they came in and started searching through drawers cupboards, ect. When I said hey wait what are you doing, you said that you would look from the hallway, they said, "No, we didn't, he did" and pointed to the hallway where the third cop was standing. It will never happen to me again, believe me. Did I say good hub? :D

    • Daddy Paul profile image

      Daddy Paul 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Good read.

    • marcel285 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from New Zealand

      Yeah in some places, police officers are more brutal than the criminals their trying to catch. It's ALWAYS best to try to avoid them alltogther.

    • Darknlovely3436 profile image


      8 years ago from NewYork

      Well here in this city, when a Police Officer pull you over

      or even come to your home, It is 50/50 change that you will live to see the next day. They policy is "Shoot first

      and asked question after, some Police Officers in some state

      is not always there to protect. "Thank for updating

      this information. Stay clean and avoid running into

      the Police Officers no matter where you resided.

      Darknlovely 3436

    • Presigo profile image


      8 years ago from Spokane, Wa

      This could prove to ve valuable information, I hope that it finds its way to someone who might otherwise surrender their rights


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