This is the second of two parts on the topic of preparing for civil unrest where you live.
As we learned last time we discussed this subject, there’s more to being prepared for a time of civil unrest than what we can stockpile at home.
For example, what if you’re inadvertently caught in the middle of a violent protest? It’s terrifying to think that being in the wrong place at the wrong time could quickly result in an arrest or a worse tragedy.
This is dangerous territory, as you can easily be stopped by the police just for being in the general vicinity of a riot. It’s critical to know your rights, in case you are stopped by police for any reason during acts of civil disobedience.
Officers of the law aren’t always looking out for your best interest. To protect yourself, read through the information below and be sure to fully understand your rights.
Your Basic Rights:
- You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
- You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, car or home.
- If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
- You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.
If You Are Stopped for Questioning:
- Stay calm. Don’t run. Don’t argue, resist or obstruct the police, even if you are innocent or police are violating your rights. Keep your hands where police can see them.
- Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away. If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why.
- You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions. If you wish to remain silent, tell the officer out loud. In some states, you must give your name if asked to identify yourself.
- You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may “pat down” your clothing if they suspect a weapon. You should not physically resist, but you have the right to refuse consent for any further search. If you do consent, it can affect you later in court.
If You Are Stopped in Your Car:
- 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.
- Upon request, show police your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
- If an officer asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search. But if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent.
- Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, sit silently or calmly leave. Even if the officer says no, you have the right to remain silent.
Always be aware of your surroundings, be prepared and be careful out there. The world is getting crazier by the minute, and there’s no time like the present to make sure you are properly prepared.