It’s night-time, you’re driving home, and out of nowhere, blue lights appear in your rear-view mirror. It’s easy for fear to seep into your vehicle, but know that regardless of the reason you are being pulled over, as a Mississippian and American citizen, you still have rights.

If you are pulled over

You do have the right to remain silent, as do all the passengers in your vehicle. To minimize drawing unwarranted attention to yourself, pull the vehicle over to the safest place as quickly as you can. Turn off the vehicle and place both hands on your steering wheel. When prompted, show the officer your driver’s license, car registration and insurance. Do avoid sudden movements, and always display your hands where the police officer can clearly see them.

If you are arrested

You have the right to continue to remain silent, and you may also ask for a lawyer. Do not say or sign anything without first seeking legal counsel. You also have the right to place a phone call. Police may listen in–and often do–if you choose to call anyone other than an attorney. If you do choose to call an attorney, police are not permitted to listen to the call.

If you feel like your rights have been violated

Write down the officer’s badge and patrol car number and any other details relevant to the experience. If possible, get contact information from witnesses. If you have sustained any injuries, seek immediate medical attention, and take pictures of any injuries. Contact the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board to file a written complaint. In many cases, you do have the option to file anonymously.
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