According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, law enforcement officers arrested more than 86,000 adults during 2020. Police detained countless others for questioning.
If the police take you into custody, knowing your rights to protect yourself and ensure a fair process is important.
The right to remain silent
You do not need to respond to any questions from law enforcement officers. Instead, you can simply say “I choose to remain silent” or say nothing at all. You should never feel pressured to provide self-incriminating information.
The right to information
You have the right to know why the police will not let you leave and whether they are charging you with a crime. If authorities do not volunteer this information, then ask for it.
The right to contact someone
In most cases, you have the right to call a friend, family member or other designated individual to inform them of your situation. However, this right may have some restrictions, depending on the circumstances. You may also have to wait several hours before making the call.
The right to a fair and speedy process
Legal processes must ensue without excessive delays. This right ensures that the authorities do not hold you in custody indefinitely without pressing formal charges or allowing you the opportunity to defend yourself.
The right to refuse searches
Under most circumstances, you do not have to allow police to search you, your property or your belongings without a proper search warrant. However, law enforcement officers may conduct permitless searches in many circumstances.
The right to be free from excessive force
Law enforcement officers must use only reasonable and necessary force when apprehending or detaining individuals. Examples of excessive force include physical beatings, the use of weapons and the improper application of handcuffs.
Even if the police temporarily strip you of your right to liberty, they cannot deny you the basic human rights every person deserves.