If You are Stopped by the Police or Immigration

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Stopped by Police or Immigration? Know Your Rights!

If you are stopped by the police or immigration service, you have certain rights whether or not you have done something wrong. Give your real name if asked; it is a crime to give a false name. Do not give false documents; this too is a crime and can also cause very serious immigration problems. Never offer money to the police as a bribe.

If You Are Approached at Work or on the Street

You do not have to stop and talk to an officer unless you are ordered to stop. You never have to give any information other than your name and address. You do not have to go anywhere, including the police station, unless you are arrested. If you are not sure if you are under arrest, you may ask the officer. An officer may be able to pat down the outside of your clothes for weapons. You do not have to consent to a more thorough search.

If You Are in Your Home

You do not have to let an officer into your private residence without an arrest or search warrant. If you are arrested in your home the police can search the area near where you were arrested, usually this means the room where you were arrested. They cannot search your whole house without a warrant to do so. You have the right to see the warrant, to read what it permits the officers to do. Even if the officers have a search warrant you do not have to answer their questions.

If You are Stopped While Driving or Riding in a Car

If you are the driver of the motor vehicle, you must provide the officer with your driver's license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. You do not have to answer any other questions even if the officer writes you a ticket or arrests you. Make certain that you always have an identification card or driver=s license in your possession. You are not required to provide an officer with immigration paperwork to prove your alien or citizenship status.

The officer may look into the passenger compartment of your car and may, in some circumstances, search the trunk without a warrant. If the officer asks for permission to search the vehicle or your belongings, you may always refuse. In fact, if you have any concerns about what might be found in your vehicle or belongings, you should refuse the search. If the officer searches anyway, you may later have a defense against a criminal charge resulting from the illegal search.

If the officer orders you to get out of the vehicle, you must do so, even if you are not the driver. The officer may pat down the outside of your clothing to search for weapons. Do not disobey an officer=s order or physically resist. The police may not conduct a more extensive search without either presenting you with a search warrant or obtaining your consent. YOU NEVER HAVE TO CONSENT TO A MORE EXTENSIVE SEARCH OF YOUR BELONGINGS OR YOURSELF.

If You Are Arrested

NEVER RESIST ARREST. The police must have a good reason to arrest you but even if they do not, be polite and remain calm. You may be handcuffed and you and your belongings searched when arrested. If the police have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime, you can be arrested. The police can then search you, and your vehicle, if the vehicle is being impounded.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE HELD AGAINST YOU. Even if you have been arrested or are in jail you don=t have to talk to anybody. Only a judge can order you to answer questions. If you choose to answer some questions, you may stop talking at any time. You never have to give or sign any written statements at any time.

You should use your right to remain silent if you have any concern that your statements would be used against you. You should indicate to the officer that you wish to speak to an attorney before responding to his/her questions. If the officer does not intend to arrest you, ask the officer whether you are free to leave. If the officer indicates that you are free to leave, do so.

If you are arrested, you have the right to make at least one phone call at your expense to a relative, employer, friend, or attorney. You must be allowed to call or arrange to see an attorney immediately. You have the right to talk to an attorney before you answer any questions.

The police may take your clothing and belongings after your arrest. They must provide you with a receipt for every item taken from you, including your wallet, money, watch, and identification papers. These items must be returned to you when you are released.

If You Are Put in Jail

The police in Oregon must take you before a judge within 72 hours of arrest, or the following business day if you are arrested on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. This first appearance is not a trial; it is only to see if the police can properly hold you. The immigration service can hold you without formal charges for 48 hours. After that, the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) must decide whether to put you into immigration proceedings and keep you in custody or release you on bond. The ICE can keep you without charges for an additional 48 hours in an "emergency circumstance."

In most cases, you are allowed to post bond to get out of jail. If you have no money to post bond, you may ask to be released you on your own recognizance. If you are arrested by the immigration service, you may request a bond hearing to reduce the amount you need to pay to be released.

In most cases only an immigration judge can order you deported. But if you waive (give up) your rights or agree to leave "voluntarily" you could be deported without a hearing. If you have criminal convictions, were arrested at the border, or have been ordered deported in the past, you could be deported without a hearing.

TALK TO AN ATTORNEY ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, ask the judge to appoint one for you. If you are arrested by the ICE, you will not be appointed an attorney, but you should be given a list of free legal help that may be available to you.



Last Review and Update: Jul 19, 2011
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