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Your rights when interacting with police

It is important for people in Tennessee to understand their rights when they interact with the police. First, even if they have not done anything that is against the law, they should remain calm and follow the instructions of the police. They should not try to escape and should make sure that the police can always see their hands.

What to do

You do not need to answer questions although you may be required to give your name and address if you are taken into custody or cited. You should be polite and can simply say that you want to remain silent. You can say no to a search, but criminal law allows police to check you for weapons. You can ask if you are free to leave, and if you are being taken into custody, you have the right to know why.

In a vehicle

If you are stopped in a car, you should pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. You should put the interior light on and place your hands on the wheel. As is the case when stopped on foot, you should stay polite and calm. You also do not have to consent to having your car searched, but the police may have the right if they think there is evidence related to a crime in your car. You and your passengers are not required to answer questions although you may need to show your license and registration.

If law enforcement violates your rights at some point in the process of detaining you or taking you into custody, evidence or even their entire case against you could be dropped. However, in most cases, it is best to address these issues through legal channels instead of trying to argue with police or to resist them on the scene.


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Practicing in Bartlett Since 1977

Attorney Jeffrey H. Jones is held in high regard among peers, clients and judges throughout the Memphis area.

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