Being stopped by the police can be overwhelming and alarming which is why it is essential for anyone stopped by police officers to be familiar with their rights. By being familiar with their rights, those who have been stopped by police will have the knowledge they need to protect themselves in a difficult situation.
Citizens in New York have important protections and rights when encountered by police including:
- The right not to speak to police officers – when an individual has been stopped by police, they are not required to answer questions the police ask them and in New York are not required to provide identification. Police officers can only briefly stop and detain an individual if they have reasonable suspicion they have committed a crime. Accused individuals should ask officers if they are being detained or are free to leave.
- 5th Amendment and Miranda warnings protection – when an individual has been arrested, police officers are required to provide them with their Miranda warnings so that accused individuals know that they have the right to remain silent and statements they make can be used against them. The 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals from being compelled to incriminate themselves. An individual who has been arrested should state to officers that they wish to remain silent and to not answer any questions.
- Right to obtain the police officer’s identity and business card – in New York, police officers are required to provide their identity and business card, if it is requested, except in emergency situations.
- Other important rights and protections – include the right to counsel and rights against unreasonable searches and seizures that individuals encountered by police should also be familiar with.
When faced with a stop by police, it is helpful for any individual contacted by the police to be prepared with what to doing when confronted with that situation in advance. The criminal justice system affords many criminal defense rights everyone should be familiar with so they can protect themselves with them in any situation such as when they have been stopped by police or the victim of police misconduct.