ACLU "Bust Card"
Download Pdf here, print it out, and carry it with you!
Think carefully about your words, movement,
body language, and emotions.
Donít get into an argument with the police.
Remember, anything you say or do can be used
Keep your hands where the police can see
Donít run. Donít touch any police officer.
Donít resist even if you believe you are
Donít complain on the scene or tell the
police theyíre wrong or that youíre going to file a
Do not make any statements regarding the
Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your
Remember officersí badge & patrol car
Write down everything you remember ASAP.
Try to find witnesses & their names & phone
If you are injured, take photographs of the
injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical
If you feel your rights have been violated,
file a written complaint with police departmentís internal
affairs division or civilian complaint board, or call the
ACLU hotline, 1-877-6-PROFILE.
1. What you say to the police is always
important. What you say can be used against you, and it
can give the police an excuse to arrest you, especially if you
badmouth a police officer.
2. You must show your driver's license and
registration when stopped in a car. Otherwise, you don't have to
answer any questions if you are detained or arrested, with one
important exception. The police may ask for your name if you
have been properly detained, and you can be arrested in some
states for refusing to give it. If you reasonably fear that your
name is incriminating, you can claim the right to remain silent,
which may be a defense in case you are arrested anyway.
3. You donít have to consent to any search of
yourself, your car or your house. If you DO consent to a search,
it can affect your rights later in court. If the police say they
have a search warrant, ASK TO SEE IT.
4. Do not interfere with, or obstruct the police
Ė you can be arrested for it.
IF YOU ARE STOPPED FOR QUESTIONING
1. It's not a crime to refuse to answer
questions, but refusing to answer might make the police
suspicious about you. If you are asked to identify yourself, see
paragraph 2 above.
2. Police may ďpat-downĒ your clothing if they
suspect a concealed weapon. Donít physically resist, but make it
clear that you donít consent to any further search.
3. Ask if you are under arrest. If you are, you
have a right to know why.
4. Donít bad-mouth the police officer or run
away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable.
That could lead to your arrest.
IF YOUíRE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR
1. Upon request, show them your driverís
license, registration, and proof of insurance. In certain cases,
your car can be searched without a warrant as long as the police
have probable cause. To protect yourself later, you should make
it clear that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful
for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a
2. If youíre given a ticket, you should sign it;
otherwise you can be arrested. You can always fight the case in
3. If youíre suspected of drunk driving (DWI)
and refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test, your driverís
license may be suspended.
IF YOUíRE ARRESTED OR TAKEN TO A POLICE STATION
1. You have the right to remain silent and to
talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Tell the police
nothing except your name and address. Donít give any
explanations, excuses or stories. You can make your defense
later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is
2. Ask to see a lawyer immediately. If you canít
pay for a lawyer, you have a right to a free one, and should ask
the police how the lawyer can be contacted. Donít say anything
without a lawyer.
3. Within a reasonable time after your arrest,
or booking, you have the right to make a local phone call: to a
lawyer, bail bondsman, a relative or any other person. The
police may not listen to the call to the lawyer.
4. Sometimes you can be released without bail,
or have bail lowered. Have your lawyer ask the judge about this
possibility. You must be taken before the judge on the next
court day after arrest.
5. Do not make any decisions in your case until
you have talked with a lawyer.
IN YOUR HOME
1. If the police knock and ask to enter your
home, you donít have to admit them unless they have a warrant
signed by a judge.
2. However, in some emergency situations (like
when a person is screaming for help inside, or when the police
are chasing someone) officers are allowed to enter and search
your home without a warrant.
3. If you are arrested, the police can search
you and the area close by. If you are in a building, ďclose byĒ
usually means just the room you are in.
We all recognize the need for effective law
enforcement, but we should also understand our own rights and
responsibilities Ė especially in our relationships with the
Everyone, including minors, has the right to
courteous and respectful police treatment. If your rights are
violated, donít try to deal with the situation at the scene. You
can talk to a lawyer afterwards, or file a complaint with the
Internal Affairs or Civilian Complaint Board.
Produced by the American Civil Liberties Union.
ARREST THE RACISM. Tell us
about your race- or ethnic based traffic or pedestrian stop.
Call 1-877-6-PROFILE or go to aclu.org/profiling