Rights to know with a police encounter


Not many students at Orange Glen know there basic civil rights yet alone other laws. This is unfortunate as most students are not informed about their basic civil rights and liberties. Most students are a part of the general public and are not informed of the laws around them.

There certain rights that the average person should know especially with an encounter with the police. When encountering a police an individual should always remain respectful and calm. An individual when appropriate may want to choose to exercise rights given by the U.S. constitution mainly to do with the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments.

The fourth amendment protects an individual from unreasonable searches and seizures unless a warrant is provided. The police can also search an individual if they have probable cause or if they have a warrant. This can add difficulty to what is a probable cause is. Probable cause is something that police would specifically give them reasonable suspicion, police would need proof to say they have probable cause. If a police officer asks to search an individual’s car or home without a warrant or probable cause that individual can use their fourth amendment right and say “ I do not consent to searches,” If the police has probable cause or does an illegal search remain calm and try not to intervene because that can worsen the situation, a stop can easily turn into arrest and result in a criminal offense.

In 1976 United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, the United States Supreme Court decision allowed the United States Border Patrol to set up permanent or fixed checkpoints within a 100 miles radius of any border but wandering border patrol agents cannot pull someone over without probable cause. It is also illegal for Border Patrol to rely on the race or ethnicity of a driver or passenger to justify a stop. Border Patrol can conduct searches. For more information click here to know what to do when stopped by a Border Patrol agent

When a police officer is questioning an individual, the individual should ask if they are being detained

Or if they are free to go, if the police say they are free to go then that individual should leave if not then they might be detained or in traffic stops paying a fine. If it is a traffic stop the individual should respond to a police officer if the address is correct on their driver’s license. If you are being detained, you may want to ask why. Otherwise, if police are asking other questions then you can choose to exercise their Fifth Amendment constitutional right, the right to remain silent.

If the police have a warrant, an individual should politely ask to see and read the warrant. If the police have a warrant for an individual, the individual should ask for an attorney given by the sixth amendment. All questioning from police officers should stop when the individual asks for an attorney.

One of the most common offenses is the possession of marijuana and often gets confused with the current laws. A person must be 21 or older to have, purchase or use recreational cannabis. This includes smoking, vaping and eating cannabis-infused products. Adults may possess 28.5 grams of cannabis plant material (about an ounce) and 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.

Adults who exceed these amounts can be charged with a misdemeanor and can be punished up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $500. People under age 21 who possess marijuana can be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to a fine if they are 18 if they are under 18 they can go through a diversion program and/or do drug counseling and community service. It is illegal to consume, smoke, eat or vape cannabis in public. if someone is pulled over for speeding and the cop sees drugs in the car, the cops may arrest her for possession of the drugs, even though it has nothing to do with them being pulled over.

When confronting an officer remember to always be respectful, stay calm, and be polite. A person’s character can change how the officer sees their safety and others as wells, since they risk their lives to maintain safety.