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Myths about your rights during an interaction with the police

by | Apr 17, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Many New York citizens believe various myths regarding talking to the police. A variety of criminal justice television shows have stretched the truth, and, in some cases, have portrayed the exact opposite of it. The reality is that it’s your responsibility to understand just what your rights are so that you can determine your actions in any future interactions with police officers.

You must talk to the police

It’s your legal right to keep your mouth shut when it comes to being questioned by the police. You don’t have to answer any of their questions regardless of whether you’re just casually strolling down the street or if you’ve been taken into custody. There are only a couple of exceptions that you should be aware of, and those depend on the state that you’re in.

Some states require that any driver who is pulled over must submit to providing a driver’s license to the officer. Also, some states have what is known as a Stop and Identify law. This law requires that citizens provide a police officer with their appropriate identifications if they are stopped by a police officer and asked for it. Police officers in states with a Stop and Identify law may only ask for a citizen’s identification if they suspect that the individual has been involved in criminal activity such as drug crimes.

You have the right to a phone call

One of the oldest misconceptions about being arrested is that you’re entitled to make one phone call. The reality is that there is no federal law that mandates that the police must allow you to make a phone call. However, there are some states and local municipalities that offer this right for those who are arrested.

As a U.S. citizen, you have many different rights. While trying to understand and memorize all of them can be a bit difficult, you may want to focus the majority of your efforts on the rights you have during your interactions with the police. If you’re unsure of your rights, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney for assistance.