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How can I protect myself when stopped by law enforcement?

If you are stopped by law enforcement in New York, do you know your rights? Do you know what to do to avoid being arrested or ending up in a bad situation? It is imperative that you understand what you must do and what to avoid, so the situation does not escalate. You have many rights under the constitution, but sometimes how you handle your rights can have a big effect on the situation.

According to USA Today, you can always evoke your rights, especially that to stay silent. However, officers may not always respect your rights and could arrest you. It is best if you react in a calm and polite manner whenever interacting with officers. You should also clarify anything an officer says. Ask if he or she is giving you an order. If an officer orders you to do something, then you must comply, but if not, then you have the choice to comply or not if it is in violation of your rights.

Typically, your best defense is to protect your rights, but to do so in an agreeable way. It is in your best interest to remain calm with officers so they do not end up having a legitimate charge against you. For example, if you resist arrest or assault an officer, even if the original charge does not stand up in court, the new charges could. The court is bound by the constitution and will always uphold your rights. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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