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Here's What You Need to Know if the Police Stop You

When police pull you over or question you for a crime, it’s important to know that the Constitution guarantees you certain rights. In fact, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has created a card that outlines your legal rights and gives you tips on what to do if a law enforcement officer stops or arrests you. You can print out the ACLU “Bust Card” and keep it in your wallet to refer to as needed.

Some of the most important rights are:

Right to remain silent

You can’t be compelled to speak to police because of the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination. The police can ask your name, address and other routine processing questions, but can’t go farther than that until they read you your Miranda rights, at which point you can invoke your right to remain silent.

Right to an attorney

You should ask for your attorney immediately. The police must give you the opportunity to confer with your attorney and to have your attorney present during questioning.

Right to know the charges against you

The police must have probable cause to arrest you, and they shouldtell you why you are being arrested. Usually police cannot hold you for an extended period of time without bringing a formal criminal charge against you.

Right to presumed innocence

Under our system, all people are to be considered innocent until proven guilty. No matter how strong the evidence may be, you are entitled to this presumption until you plead guilty or the court finds you guilty.

Right to humane treatment

The Eighth Amendment guarantees people in custody the freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. Therefore, you must be treated humanely while being held in jail. For example, this means that you cannot be deprived of food or water or be beaten up.

If you have been arrested, consult with our aggressive Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys to preserve your rights and get you the best possible results for your criminal case.