On this blog and in our practice, we continually discourage our readers and clients from speaking with police without an attorney. You likely know that you have a Fifth Amendment right to refuse to say anything that could incriminate you, but you may not understand when and how you can invoke that right. You may also know that you have a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, but you may not know what constitutes and illegal search and when, if ever, you have to consent to a search. In July, we blogged about a college student who was arrested for DUI even though he had not been drinking at all. His DUI checkpoint refusal, in which he refused to consent to anything, led to a search of his car and a false hit from a drug dog. Some people criticized the young man for causing trouble and for making things harder than they needed to be. Other people praised him, saying that his video of the encounter informs people of their rights when stopped or questioned by law enforcement. Still, knowing your rights can be confusing. You are told that things will be easier for you if you just comply with an officer's requests, but in doing so you may risk a criminal charge and compromise your case. An infographic developed published at Online Paralegal Programs and circulating the web gives a clear and visual depiction of your rights during an encounter with police, whether you are questioned as a potential witness or arrested as a suspect. The information may be surprising to you. If a police officer asks for your identification, you must provide it if you are a driver that has been stopped or pulled over. However, Oklahoma is not a "stop and identify" state. Unless you are a driver as described previously, you do not have to provide identification to police during a casual encounter or if you are detained. If you are arrested, however, you do have to provide identification It is important to note that you never have to consent to a search. If police have a valid search warrant, they can and will search your person or property with or without your consent. Never give your consent. Many people do not realize that police can legally lie to you or deceive you in order to get you to comply with their requests. Know your rights so that you cannot be taken advantage of. View the infographic below to learn the appropriate answers to questions such as, "Have you been drinking tonight," or, "Do you mind if I take a look?" Also, learn how to find out if you are free to leave an encounter or if you are being detained.
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