Know Your Rights

If government officials, such as the police or immigration agents, question you, it is important to understand your rights.

You should be careful about what you say when approached by law enforcement officials. If you give answers, they can be used against you in a criminal, immigration, or civil case.

Below is a summary of your rights and responsibilities. You can also download documents about your rights in different languages.

Your Rights

  • You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud. 
  • You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home, although in some circumstances the police may override your refusal.
  • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave. 
  • You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately. 
  • Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.

Your Responsibilities

  • Do stay calm and be polite.
  • Do not interfere with or obstruct the police.
  • Do not lie or give false documents.
  • Do prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.
  • Do remember the details of the encounter.
  • Do file a written complaint to the ACLU-DE if you feel your rights have been violated.

Download a Free Booklet

The booklets available below tell you about your basic rights. They are not a substitute for legal advice. You should contact an attorney if you have been arrested or believe that your rights have been violated.

Looking for quick answers? Check out these shorter documents:

Download a Free “Bust” Card

These are one page sheets of information that you can print off, fold up, and stick in your wallet. It will tell you what to do if you’re stopped by police, immigration agents, or the FBI.