Police officers are charged with protecting the safety and upholding the rights of individuals. Many officers are ethical professionals who carry out their mission to the best of their abilities. Yet, all too often, people suffer the violation of their civil rights at the hands of law enforcement personnel. It’s important for everyone to be aware of their civil rights in New York so they can swiftly identify when a violation may have occurred and take action by contacting a civil rights lawyer.
Your rights as a driver of a pulled-over vehicle
Every driver has rights and obligations. If a police officer indicates that they would like to pull you over, for example, you’re obligated to safely stop. However, you are not obligated to answer questions. Your personal rights during a traffic stop include the right to remain silent. To exercise this right, you can tell the police officer that you would like to remain silent. However, you must still show the officer your license, registration, and proof of insurance upon request.
In New York City, police officers must inform you that they are requesting your consent to search your car, and they must also tell you that you have the right to refuse. The exceptions are if an officer has a search warrant and if the officer has probable cause that a crime has been committed.
After a traffic stop has been executed, you have the right to challenge its legality in a court of law. You can do this with the assistance of a civil rights attorney.
Your rights as a passenger of a pulled-over vehicle
In New York, passengers of vehicles that have been pulled over have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers do. Police officers could potentially order passengers to step out of the vehicle and submit to a search of their person. However, passengers are also protected from unreasonable searches and seizures, just like drivers. This means they have the right to pursue legal recourse if they have been the victim of an illegal search and seizure.
In short, like drivers, passengers have the following rights:
- Protection from unlawful or unreasonable searches and seizures
- Right to remain silent
- Right to challenge, in a court of law, the legality of the traffic stop
- Right to challenge, in a court of law, the legality of any search and seizure
Protect your civil rights with aggressive legal representation
If you believe your rights have been violated by a police officer, you need legal guidance right away. Contact the law office of Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb, Green & Bagley, P.C. to schedule a consultation with a veteran New York civil rights lawyer. We are committed to vigorously safeguarding the civil rights of individuals and groups and will explore all possible avenues of securing legal recourse on your behalf.
Whether you have been falsely arrested, subjected to an illegal search and seizure in your vehicle or home, wrongfully convicted, or been the victim of police brutality, our legal team will fight to defend your civil rights and freedoms. Individuals throughout New York City and Long Island are invited to contact our law firm to request a free consultationM