PLEASE NOTE: The information on this page is to educate students on their rights. It is not intended to be used as legal advice for any case. If you have additional questions, it is recommended to contact a lawyer.

Can the police question people who are not under arrest?
Yes, the police can stop anyone and ask questions without arresting the person. This can happen when police see suspicious activity.

What Do You Do When Police Stop You?

  • Be extremely careful with what you say to the officer because anything you say can be used against you in the court of law.
  • Do not argue, run away from or touch any of the police officers.
  • Do not resist arrest.
  • Do not make any statements about the incident. You have the right to remain silent and only provide your name and contact information.
  • Be sure to note the badge number and name of the police officers.
  • Ask for a lawyer as soon as you are arrested.
  • Write the incident down, compile a witness list and consult a lawyer.
  • If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with the police department and contact a lawyer.

What Happens If the Police Stop Me?

  1. You can refuse to answer questions, but this can make the police suspicious about you.
  2. Police can pat you down if they suspect a weapon to protect themselves.
  3. If you feel you are under arrest, be sure and ask if you are. If you are, you have a right to know why.
  4. If you are taken to the police station, you have the right to remain silent and tell the police absolutely nothing except who you are. Ask to see a lawyer immediately.
  5. You are allowed one phone call to anyone and the police may not listen to it.
  6. Do not make excuses, bad-mouth or create stories with any of the police officers. It is important to contact a lawyer immediately, and if you can’t afford one, you have the right to free legal services.