A brief guide to the Bill of Rights for students, youth and all citizens:

It’s worth your while to be polite to police. They have a difficult and dangerous job to do. You can assert your constitutional rights without being rude.

If an officer wants to search your person, car, or home, you can simply say, “no, I am very busy right now.”

In the car – Police need reasonable suspicion of a traffic infraction or criminal activity to pull you over. This could be clocking you on radar or LIDAR exceeding the speed limit, seeing you fail to use a turn signal, or even seeing that you have something hanging from your rear view mirror. Make sure your vehicle is properly equipped, inspected and insured; also, follow the traffic regulations and speed limit.

In public places – The same “reasonable suspicion” standard applies in public places. If an officer approaches you and you want to leave, ask “am I free to go?” If you receive any answer other than a “no” you can and should walk away at a normal pace with your hands open and visible to the officer (not reaching into pockets, purse or backpack). If you are told that you are not free to go, you must assert, again and again if necessary, your right to have an attorney present during any questioning.

In the home – For the most part, police need a warrant to enter your home. This includes your dorm room. If police knock on your door, and ask to speak to you, you may insist on speaking through the closed door unless they provide a warrant.

In General – You must assert your rights in order to be protected by them. That means insisting that you do not consent to a search, or to being questioned without a lawyer present. You may be threatened with arrest. Do not be intimidated and do not get into a shouting match with law enforcement. It is never wise to resist arrest, even an unlawful one.

If you are arrested you must continue to assert your right to have a lawyer present.

Get in touch with me immediately and let me handle your problem from that point.

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