Know Your Rights If You Are Stopped By The Police, Immigration Agents Or The FBI. 

Know your rights if you are stopped by the police, immigration agents or the FBI. 

If You Are Stopped By Police
  • You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to remain silent, tell the officer. (Some states may require that you identify yourself to the police if you are suspected of a crime).
  • Remain calm. Do not run away. Do not argue, resist or obstruct the police. Always keep your hands where the police can see them.
  • Ask if you are free to leave. If the police say yes, walk away calmly and quietly.
  • You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings..
If You Are Stopped In Your Vehicle
  • Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible. Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way and place your hands on the wheel.
  • If asked, show the police your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
  • If a police or immigration officer asks you to search your vehicle, you can refuse. But if the police believe that your vehicle contains evidence of a crime, they can search it without your permission. 
  • Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you may also ask if you are free to leave. If yes, silently leave.


If You Are Asked About Your Immigration Status
  • You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or how you entered the country. (Separate rules apply at international borders and airports, and to individuals with certain non-immigrant visas, including tourists and business travelers).
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen and have valid immigration documents, you should show them if an immigration agent requests it.
  • Do not lie about your citizenship status or provide false documents.


If The Police Or Immigration Agents Come To Your Home
  • You do not have to let them in unless they have a warrant signed by a judge. 
  • Ask them to show you the warrant. Officers can only search the areas and for the items listed on the warrant. An arrest warrant allows the police to enter the home of the person listed in the warrant if they believe the person is inside. A removal/deportation(́ ICE warrant ́) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent.
  • Even if officers have a warrant, you may remain silent. If you choose to speak, step outside and close the door. 


If You Are Arrested
    • Do not resist
    • Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, the government must provide one.
    • Do not say anything, sign anything, or make any decisions without a lawyer.
    • You have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer.
    • Do not discuss your immigration status with anyone except your lawyer.
    • An immigration officer may visit you in jail. Do not answer questions or sign anything before you talk to a lawyer.
    • Read all documents completely. If you do not understand or cannot read them, say you need an interpreter.


If You Are Taken Into Immigration (Or ”ICE”) Custody
    • You have the right to a lawyer, but the government will not provide one. If you do not have a lawyer, ask for a list of free or low-cost legal services providers.
    • You have the right to contact your consulate or have an officer notify the consulate of your arrest.
    • Tell the immigration officer you wish to remain silent. Do not discuss your immigration status with anyone other than your lawyer.
    • Do not sign anything, such as voluntary departure or stipulated removal without talking to a lawyer first. If you sign, you may be giving up the opportunity to try to stay in the U.S.
    • Know your immigration number ( ́ ́ A ́ ́number) and give it to your family. It will help your family locate you.


If You Think Your Rights Have Been Violated
  • Write down everything you remember, including the officers’ badge and their patrol car numbers, which agency they belong to, and any other details. Get the contact information for witnesses. If you are injured, seek medical attention immediately and take photographs of your injuries.
  • File a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board. In most cases, you can file a report anonymously if you wish.

This information is not intended to serve as legal advice. Some state laws may vary. Different rules apply at checkpoints and when entering the U.S. (including at airports). Updated December 2016.  Information provided from

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