PLEASE NOTE: Life of the Party thinks it is important for
students to know
their rights when in contact with the police. However, this
information is not intended
to interfere with or obstruct the police. You can be arrested for
interfering with or
obstructing the police.
Also, this information is not intended to be used as legal advice for
If you have additional questions, contact the Legal Resource Center
(free for UCSB
students only) at 6550 Pardall #B (around back and above Grafikart)
or call 805-893-4246.
IN YOUR HOME
- If the police knock and ask to enter your home, you don't have
to admit them unless
they have a warrant.
- 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.
- If you are arrested, the police can search you and the area
close by. If you are
in a building, "close by" usually means just the room you are
IF YOU ARE STOPPED FOR QUESTIONING
- It's not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but refusing to
answer can make
the police suspicious about you. The police can stop anyone and
ask questions without
arresting the person.
- Don't bad-mouth the police officer or run away, even if you
believe what is happening
is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.
- Police may "pat-down" your clothing if they suspect a concealed
weapon. Don't physically
resist, but you can make it clear that you don't consent to any
- Ask if you are under arrest. If you are, you have a right to
TIPS IF YOU ARE STOPPED BY THE POLICE
- Think carefully about your words, movement, body
language, and emotions.
- Don't complain on the scene or tell the police they're
wrong or that you're
going to file a complaint.
- Don't run from the police when stopped.
- Don't get into an argument with the police.
- Don't resist even if you believe you are innocent.
- Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.
- Keep your hands visible to avoid suspicion.
- Don't touch any police officer.
- Remember officers' badge and patrol car numbers.
- Write down everything you remember.
- If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries, but
make sure you seek
medical attention first.
- If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written
a police department’s supervisor or the police department's
internal affairs division.
IF YOU'RE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR
- If you're suspected of drunk driving (DUI) and refuse to take a
blood, urine or
breath test, your driver's license may be suspended.
- Upon request, show them your driver's license, registration, and
proof of insurance.
You have the right to consent or not consent to a search. It is
not lawful for police
to arrest you for refusing to consent to a search. In certain
cases, your car can
be searched without a warrant as long as the police have
- If you're given a ticket, you should sign it; otherwise you can
be arrested. You
can always fight the case in court later.
IF YOU'RE ARRESTED OR TAKEN TO A POLICE STATION
- You have the right to remain silent and to talk to a lawyer
before you talk to the
police. You don’t need to give any explanations, excuses or
stories. You can make
your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer
decide is best.
- Ask to see a lawyer. If you can't pay for a lawyer, you have a
right to a free one,
and you can ask the police how the lawyer can be contacted.
- 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.
- Do not make any decisions in your case until you have talked
with a lawyer.
Information adapted from the American Civil Liberties Union.