Know Your Rights

Traffic StopWhenever you encounter law enforcement, it is important that you know your rights. Whether you are questioned, stopped, searched, or arrested, there are basic rights that you are entitled to and you should immediately contact a lawyer if you feel they have been violated.

If a law enforcement officer stops you on the street, you do not have to answer any questions. You can simply state that you do not wish to talk and ask if you are free to go. NEVER run from an officer. If the officer says that you are not free to go, but that you are not being arrested, then you are being detained. If the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you may be armed or dangerous, he can pat down the outside of your clothing. If he/she wishes to search you further, you do not have to consent to the search. If they search you anyway, it is important not to physically resist them. If you are arrested or detained, you are not obligated to answer any questions except your name and date of birth.

If you are stopped in your car by a law enforcement officer, keep your hands where the officer can see them. If asked, provide your drivers license, registration and proof of insurance. They may ask you to step out of the vehicle but you do not have to answer any questions. They cannot search your car without consent unless they have probable cause to believe that criminal activity is taking place. If you do not want your car searched, do not give consent. Refusal to consent does not give the officer a basis for doing a search.

If you are arrested, the officer must advise you of your constitutional rights which include: the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to have an attorney appointed if you cannot afford one. Exercise these rights. Should you need a criminal defense attorney in Fort Worth, call The Law Office of Paul Previte immediately at (817)335-4357.