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Stop and Arrest

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YOU ARE STOPPED BY THE POLICE ON THE STREET

You do not have to answer any questions. You can say, "I do not want to talk to you" and walk away calmly. Do not become angry or aggressive with the police, do not run away and do not ignore their instructions to stop. If you do not feel comfortable simply walking away, you can ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, you can just walk away. If the officer says you are not under arrest, but you are not free to go, this is called being "detained." Being detained is not the same as being arrested. However, the police can arrest you later in the same encounter.

The only information that you must give the police is your name. You are not required to answer any other questions by the police. Be sure to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions asked by the police.

The police can pat down the outside of your clothing if they have a "reasonable suspicion" that you may be armed or dangerous. If they search you more than a pat down, calmly and clearly tell them that you do not consent to the search. If the police continue to search you, do not fight or resist them. Be sure to tell your public defender that this happened, if you are charged. Be sure to later collect the names and contact information for people who witnessed the search of your person.


YOU ARE STOPPED BY THE POLICE IN A VEHICLE

Keep your hands where the police can see them. You must show your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance if you are asked for those documents. The police officer can ask you to step out of your car, and they may separate passengers and drivers from each other to question them and compare their answers. Remember, you do not have to answer any of their questions.

You do not have to give the police permission to search your car. If the police ask to search your car and you do not wish for them to do so, stay calm and polite, and tell them "no." There are certain limited circumstances where the police can search your car without permission. These limited circumstances include: when they have a warrant or when there is "probable cause" to believe that criminal activity is taking place, the car was involved in a crime, or the police believe there is evidence of a crime in your car. If the police begin to search your car and you do not wish for them to do so, repeat calmly and politely that you do not wish for them to search your car. Do not attempt to stop the officer verbally or physically. This could result in criminal charges.

Be sure to tell your public defender if your car was searched without your permission. They have the ability to look into the reasons why the police officer searched your car, and determine if the search was lawful. If there was unlawful conduct, your lawyer can file a motion with the Court asking that the results of the search be suppressed. 


THE POLICE CONTACT YOU BY PHONE

You do not have to speak to the police. You do not have to return their call, continue with a conversation, or go down to the police station to speak with them further. If the police call or approach you for an interview and you do not wish to speak with them, politely tell them that you do not wish to speak with them. Do not answer any of their questions. If you are not comfortable simply saying "no," tell the police that you wish to speak with your lawyer. If the police officer provides their name, write it down as soon as possible.

Be sure to tell your lawyer that the police are attempting to contact you. If you do not have a lawyer, call the public defender's office that serves your county. You can search for your local public defender office HERE.

It will not make you look guilty if you refuse to speak to the police. It is your constitutional right to not speak with the police.


THE POLICE PLACED YOU UNDER ARREST

The officer must advise you of your constitutional right to remain silent, to an attorney, and to have an attorney appointed if you cannot afford one. You should exercise all of these rights, even if the officer does not tell you about them. Do not tell the police anything except for your name. Anything else that you say can and will be used against you. If the police continue to ask you questions - do not answer them. Repeat that you want to speak with a lawyer. Repeat this as many times as necessary.

Immediately ask for a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, ask the police for the number for the local public defenders office. If they will not provide the phone number, request access to a phone book and look for the Department of Public Advocacy. If you cannot immediately reach the public defender's office, calmly tell the detective that you will not speak with them until you first speak with your public defender.

Kentucky does not have a statutorily required time limit on when you will be arraigned, but you will be arraigned at the next arraignment docket in your county. In many counties, your arraignment will take place by video-feed from the jail to the courthouse. Your family members can go to the courthouse and watch the court date. This can sometimes be as long as one week from the time of your arrest.

A judge must set your bond within 24-hours. If you have the ability to post bond, it is in your best interest to be out of custody as soon as possible. If you cannot post bond, hire an attorney or request a public defender attorney at your arraignment.


IF YOU WERE MISTREATED BY THE POLICE

Do not fight back. Do not yell or scream at the officer. Write down the officer's name, badge number, and any other identifying information. You have a right to ask the officer for this information, but do so in a polite and calm manner. Try to find witnesses who saw the mistreatment and write down their names and phone numbers. If you are injured, immediately seek medical attention and request a copy of the records. Take pictures of any injuries to your person or your property. Call your lawyer as soon as possible.

If you are arrested ask the jail staff to take photographs of your injuries. Immediately contact your lawyer after your arrest. If you have been injured, tell your lawyer that you have been injured so they can come to the jail and take photographs before your injuries heal. It is important to take these photographs as early as possible. If the jail staff took your picture, be sure to tell your lawyer so they can request a copy of those photos. ​