Know Your Rights When Encountering Law Enforcement

Know Your Rights

If government agents question you, it is important to understand your rights. You should be careful about what you say when approached by federal, state or local law enforcement officials. If you give answers, they can be used against you in a criminal, immigration, or civil case.

Over the past two years, the FBI, for example, has significantly increased its use of “voluntary” interviews – especially within specific racial, ethnic, and religious communities – often encouraging interviewees to serve as informants in their communities.

The ACLU’s Know Your Rights booklet provides effective and useful guidance in a user-friendly question and answer format. The booklet addresses what rights you have when you are stopped, questioned, arrested, or searched by federal, state or local law enforcement officers. This booklet is for citizens and non-citizens with extra information for non-citizens in a separate section. Another section covers what can happen to you at airports and other points of entry into the United States. The last section discusses concerns you may have related to your charitable contributions and religious or political beliefs. The booklet tells you about your basic rights. It is not a substitute for legal advice. You should contact an attorney if you have been arrested or believe that your rights have been violated.

 

This free booklet is available in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Urdu, and Farsi. Booklets in these languages are available for download below.

Booklet broken down into its six parts
> Questioning
> Stops and Arrests
> Searches and Warrants
> Additional information for non-citizens
> Rights at airports and other ports of entry into the United States
> Charitable donations and religious practices

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