Powerful Advocacy,  Investigation, Negotiation, and Litigation

Asserting your rights in interactions with law enforcement

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2019 | Firm News |

When dealing with law enforcement in Montana, it is essential always to be respectful, but you also need to look out for your well-being. Most officers do not set out to violate your rights. Some may do so, according to USA Today, due to policies or practices they learned during training or due to a simple lack of knowledge about the law. After all, officers are not legal experts. 

They have the task of maintaining order. This means an officer may arrest you for something that is not an actual crime or that the prosecutor may not press charges for. An officer may also do something during an arrest or a stop that is not legal without realizing it that you may use to get the prosecutor to drop or reduce your charges. Regardless, you may stand up for your rights and make sure officers do not take them from you. 

Constitutional rights 

You have specific rights under the U.S. Constitution. These include the right to remain silent, to have an attorney present during an interrogation and to protection against illegal searches. These civil rights do not disappear because law enforcement thinks you committed a crime. 

Responding to law enforcement 

Some officers may use obstruction of justice charges to try to legitimize an arrest due to someone asserting their rights. To avoid this, you should remain polite and calm when dealing with an officer. You should obey commands, but you may decline requests. It might help to ask for clarification. Say to the officer, “Is this a request or command?” Remember that asserting your rights does not mean you can ignore officers or get combative. It is a good idea to stay calm and be respectful. 

You need to understand how to assert your rights when interacting with officers. Remember, whether legal or not, an arrest will show up on your background, so you want to avoid it if possible while at the same time watching out for your rights.