Civil Rights in New York State

What rights do I have when the police stop me in New York?

You have certain rights that are protected by the United States Constitution. It’s important to remember these rights in order to protect yourself. Here are some key rights you have:

Right to remain silent: You have the right to remain silent and not answer any questions asked by the police. You can choose to invoke this right by saying, I would like to remain silent. It is generally advisable to exercise this right until you have spoken with an attorney.

Right to legal representation: If you are arrested or taken into custody, you have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, a lawyer will be provided to you free of charge. You should request an attorney as soon as possible if you are arrested.

Right against unlawful searches and seizures: The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Unless the police have a warrant, probable cause, or your consent, they generally cannot search your person, belongings, or property.

Right to know why you were stopped: The police must provide a reason for stopping you. This is often referred to as reasonable suspicion. You can ask the officer why you were stopped.

Right to record the encounter: In New York, it is generally legal to record police officers in public spaces, as long as you do not interfere with their duties. Recording encounters with the police can help preserve evidence and protect your rights.

Right to refuse a search: You have the right to refuse consent for a search of your person, vehicle, or belongings. It is generally advisable to clearly state that you do not consent to the search, but do not physically resist the police.

Right to fair treatment: You have the right to be treated fairly and without discrimination by the police. If you believe your rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the proper authorities.