From citizens to immigrants and foreigners, we all have civil rights that protect us from maltreatment, dehumanization, and excessive force. The United States Constitution, the constitution of New Mexico, and other Civil Rights Statutes guarantee these rights. They include the right to vote, public education, government services, the right to a fair trial, and many more. If you discover that someone violated your civil rights, you can file an action against them on your civil rights lawyers’ advice.
While law enforcement must protect the rights of individuals, many people have had to deal with unruly police officers. Many times, motorists complain about law enforcement violating their civil rights when pulled over. Unfortunately, some individuals aren’t even aware that they have enforceable rights when police officers stop them. Other times, they have no idea what to do after such violations.
So, what are your civil rights during a police pullover? How can you enforce those rights when they get violated? We’d discuss those in this article.
What Should I Do if a Police Officer Pulls Me Over?
You must be careful when pulled over to ensure that you don’t violate any laws. When a police officer stops your car, you should do the following:
Once you realize that a law enforcement officer is signaling you to stop, you should pull over immediately. However, it would help if you considered your safety too. Therefore, only pull over when and where it’s safe to do so. Usually, the right place to pull over is as far away from the traffic lane as you can go.
Keep calm, roll your window down, unfasten your seat belt and remain quiet. Also, don’t get down from your vehicle except the police officers tell you otherwise. Again, it’s essential to put your hands on the steering wheel where the officers can see them. Don’t act suspiciously or make any uncertain movements.
Produce Required Documents
When the police officers approach your vehicle, they may ask specific questions and request some documents. Tell them where the documents are and reach out for them slowly with one hand.
Ask Relevant Questions Politely
Ask questions if you’re unsure about anything. However, don’t forget to communicate politely and clearly with the officers.
Do I Have Civil Rights During a Police Stop?
Regardless of the reason for the pullover, you have enforceable civil rights during a police stop. They include the following:
The Right to Remain Silent
You don’t have to answer all the questions the police officers ask. If you don’t feel up to it, you can tell them you’re invoking your rights to remain silent. Also, you don’t have to answer questions about your immigration status or country of origin.
The Right to Ask Questions
You have the right to know why and who is pulling you over. That’s because the police must have probable cause for pulling you over. As such, you can ask questions to verify such information.
The Right to a Lawyer
If you’re getting arrested, you have the right to request a lawyer.
The Right to Refuse an Unreasonable Search
Subject to certain exceptions, the police cannot search your car without a warrant or probable cause. If there’s no warrant, you have the right to deny or give your consent to a search. In New Mexico, any incriminating item law enforcement obtains during an illegal or improper search is inadmissible.
The Right Against Unlawful Detention, False Arrests and the Use of Excessive Force
The Fourth Amendment prohibits unlawful detention, false arrests, and excessive use of force during an arrest. They all constitute police misconduct. As such, you can file a complaint against the offenders where necessary.
What If The Cops Violate My Rights in New Mexico?
If law enforcement violates your rights during a pullover, the first thing to do is document the interaction. After that, you can consult your attorney on the best ways to file your complaint.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Us Immediately!
If you’re a victim of police misconduct, you can file a complaint against the offending police officer or department. To do that, you’d need help from a qualified civil rights attorney in New Mexico. Our team of experienced lawyers at FBD Law is always ready to help you fight for justice.
We have both global and local recognition as one of the best law firms in the country. Our full-service attorneys will pay uninterrupted attention to your case and proffer the best legal solutions for you. Contact us for a free consultation today.