Savvy Huskie Wants You To Know Your Rights (and the Law!)

Students rights under the United States Constitution

  • The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silent-not to answer questions asked by a police officer or any other governmental official.
  • The Fourth Amendment restricts the government's power to enter your home, workplace, or search your car.
  • The First Amendment protects your right to speak freely and to advocate for social change. Realize that immigration officials can target you based on your political activities if you are a non-citizen and are deportable.

What to do if you are stopped by the police

  • Think carefully about your words, movement, body language and emotions.
  • Do not argue with the officer.
  • Do not run. Do not touch the officer.
  • Do not physically resist even fi you believe that you are wrongfully stopped.
  • Do not make any statements regarding the incident.
  • Remember that once a conversation with a police officer is terminated, the officer must either arrest you or let you go.
  • Ask for a lawyer immediately if you are arrested.

Your rights in your home

  • If the police knock and ask to enter your home, you do not have to admit them unless they have a warrant signed by a judge. You have the right to examine the warrant first.
  • Any officer may enter your home without a warrant if he or she observes evidence in plain view (i.e., through an open door), is in hot pursuit of a fleeing felon, or reasonably believes that a person inside the room is in need of immediate aid.
  • If you consent to allow an officer to enter your home for any reason, anything the officer sees in plain view can be seized and held against you.
  • Officers rarely ask, "May I enter your room to look for evidence in plain view?" or "May I perform a full search of your person?" You must be aware of what is going on, and you must say whether or not you give consent. Be firm, clear, and polite.

If you are stopped in your car

  • Upon request show your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance. You must step out of the car if asked. If the police officer has a reasonable belief that the person stopped is presently armed and dangerous, eh or she may conduct a limited protective frisk. The frisk must be limited to a search for weapons.
  • To protect yourself, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.
  • If you are given a ticket, you should sign it. If you do not, you can be arrested. You can fight the case in court at a later date. Do not interfere with a search or obstruct the police; you can be arrested for it.
  • If you are suspected of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and you refuse to take the blood, urine, or breath test, your driver's license will be suspended.

What should I do if I am arrested?

  • Asset your rights. Tell the officer that you want to speak to a lawyer.
  • Do not sign any papers before a lawyer has advised you of the ramifications of signing and your rights and responsibilities under the law.