If you have been stopped, questioned or searched by a law enforcement officer

Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you. Think carefully about your words, movement, body language, and emotions. Don't get into an argument with the officer. Stay safe:

  • Think carefully about your body language, movement and emotions. Don't do anything the officer might perceive as a physical threat or reaching for a weapon.
  • Keep your hands where the officer can see them.
  • Never physically resist or touch an officer, even if you believe they are acting unlawfully. Never run from officers.

Assert your rights safely:

  • Do not consent to any searches of your person or property.
  • If an officer searches your person or possessions without your consent, say clearly that you do not consent to the search. But never physically resist or pull away.
  • If you want to leave, ask if you are free to leave. If the officer does not answer, ask again.


  • ​Ask for an attorney immediately upon your arrest and ask again if the police read you your rights or start to question you. Make sure that you tell the police clearly that you want to speak with an attorney and not with them.
  • Don't make any statements regarding the incident without an attorney present. Avoid making statements about your arrest or ticket to friends or family, or on the Internet (e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

File a complaint:

  • Don't tell the officer on the scene that you're going to file a complaint. File a complaint later.
  • Write down everything you remember ASAP. Remember officer's badge and patrol car numbers. Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.
  • If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.

When witnessing an interaction with a law enforcement officer

  • You have the right to film, photograph or record law enforcement officers while they are engaged in law enforcement activity.
  • Remain a safe distance from any law enforcement encounter you are documenting so that you do not physically interfere with the activity.
  • Make sure you're not violating any other laws while filming, such jaywalking or trespassing.