JUST KNOWING IS NOT ENOUGH
Over the years our attorneys have advised thousands of people about what to do when their paths cross with law enforcement. Many groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and other advocacy groups spend much time and resources educating the public about their rights.
Quite frankly, they do a very good job and if you want to learn about your rights in detail, you should visit their websites. Check out the online resource center below.
But there’s more to it than education. We think it’s important to understand not only what your rights are, but how to assert them. In our years of experience, we have found that although education is very important, it means nothing if the person forgets what to do. Or is scared to do it. We have heard from many clients, “I attended the Know Your Rights seminar, I even had the pocket guide on me, but when the cop flashed that badge, I just froze.”
This is something that (in our opinion) is not talked about enough. There are plenty of great resources to educate yourself, and most of these organizations take pains to provide this education for free. But if you’re not going to use what you learn, what’s the use in learning it?
This is why it’s important to consult with an attorney beforehand, who can customize the education for you. If you do a lot of international traveling, for example, the rights you have are different from one who doesn’t travel. If you’re out of lawful immigration status, you have issues that citizens and lawful immigrants don’t. If you spend a lot of time on the road, you may have to deal with law enforcement much more frequently than others.
This is why we believe so strongly in customized advocacy: general education is necessary and important, but nothing can substitute for advice customized for you and your situation.
An attorney can work with you to find a plan of action that you are comfortable with, if you ever have to deal with the police. Some people simply get overtaken by fear and give up all their rights as soon as they see a badge. Others feel more comfortable in asserting their rights. Others are misinformed because they assumed they had some right that they actually don’t. Still others are too belligerent and wind up in more trouble. Whoever you are, talking to an attorney can help you decide a plan of action that’s right for you.
The law is complicated, and people are different, so naturally there is only so much good a one-size-fit-all pocket guide will do. Don’t rely on your own education. Speak to a lawyer who can customize the “know your rights” for you.
Online Resources (Feel free to suggest more)