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Understanding your rights when police arrest you

When you get arrested, it can feel like you have no rights at all. The police just do whatever they want. They're intimidating and clearly in charge, and you are forced to go along with it.

The reality, though, is that you still have rights. It doesn't matter how intimidating the officers are or how nervous you feel. You don't lose those rights. Keep them in mind throughout the entire process.

For instance, police cannot search you or your home without a warrant or probable cause. If they stop you on the street for no reason, just ask them if you're free to go. If they knock on your door and ask to come in, remember that you can legally deny their request and tell them to come back with a warrant. Unless they believe there's a justifiable reason to enter -- they think a crime is being committed at that moment, for instance -- they can't come in.

Additionally, even when they make the arrest, you don't have to say anything. You can honestly answer simple questions about your name, height and weight as you are being booked, but it's often wise not to address the allegations at all. Do not make any claims either way. You have a right to a lawyer and you can tell the police you do not want to talk to them alone.

Again, it can be hard to remember these rights in the heat of the moment, but they're there to protect you. Make sure you know how they work, what legal options you have and what to do if police violate your rights.

Source: Teen Vogue, "Know Your Rights If You Get Arrested," Emma Sarran Webster, accessed April 05, 2018

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