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Know Your Legal Rights If You Are Confronted by Police

This is the info on the Know Your Rights handbill that we're passing out at the Welcome Center and elsewhere. Sorry for not getting it online sooner. Please read it and make sure others do too. And write the hotline number on your forearm in Magic Marker so you'll have it handy if you get arrested!
June 20-25 2003 ACTIVIST HOTLINES:

***** In trouble (street or jail): 916-359-1081 *****

For observers, friends, family, or legal updates: 916-321-4627

KNOW YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS

IF YOU ARE CONFRONTED BY POLICE

* You NEVER have to speak to police. You ALWAYS have a right to remain silent.
* You can ALWAYS ask if you are being detained. IF police are NOT detaining you, you can ALWAYS leave.
* You should ALWAYS tell police you DO NOT consent to a search. Interfering physically with a police search, though, may result in VERY SERIOUS charges.
* You should ALWAYS remember what witnesses were present during the confrontation.

IF YOU ARE ARRESTED

(You May Not Have Access To An Attorney, Or To A Telephone, Before Making Important Decisions,
Or Before Appearing In Court, So Please Study This Section Carefully!!!!!)

-- You ALWAYS have a right to remain silent. To exercise this right say: "I am going to remain silent. I want to speak to an attorney." You may be asked, but are NOT REQUIRED, to sign a "rights card." If you do sign a "rights card" always indicate that you DO NOT waive your rights and DO NOT wish to speak without an attorney by checking those boxes on the card.

You will most likely be taken to a jail or other processing center, quite possibly far from Sacramento, and

(1) Held until presented before the court (usually the next day but within 48 hours). This will definitely happen if you refuse to give your name, OR
(2) Released on Citation ("cited out"). Police may release some individuals if they sign a paper promising to appear in court on a future date. Future court appearance is REQUIRED.

NOTE: if you have no lawyer during your first court appearance, you should plead "not guilty" and ask for a continuance so you can get a lawyer, because you should speak with a lawyer before pleading guilty! NOTE ALSO: that while in custody, especially if the charges against you are misdemeanors, you may be able to negotiate your release from custody in exchange "for time served," especially if the cops do not want to keep numerous demonstrators in custody. This may be most effective if you and others arrested are engaging in jail solidarity (which may include, for example, refusing to give your names or other identifying information, and demanding that all demonstrators be released together). Whether you engage in jail solidarity or not is your choice, but we do recommend that any people engaging in jail solidarity demand to be represented by a lawyer--Xcontact the hotline on this page and we will try to get you a lawyer as soon as we can.

OTHER ARREST ISSUES

** Over Charging ** The government cannot necessarily obtain a conviction just because you are charged with a crime. Police and prosecutors sometimes engage in "over charging" (charging people with exaggerated offenses). For example, in cases where police use unreasonable force in making an arrest it is not unusual for police to then charge the arrestee with Battery on a Peace Officer. Resisting arrest by using ANY physical force whatsoever--Xor even just gently touching a cop--Xcan be charged as a felony Battery on a Peace Officer. Destruction of Property, valued over $400, including fences, barricades and other devices used to inhibit First Amendment rights, can be charged as a felony. Using ANY object whatsoever (even your foot/shoe) in a threatening manner could be charged as a felony Assault with a Dangerous Weapon. Other examples of over charging may include engaging in, or inciting, a riot. NOTE: Felony charges carry SERIOUS criminal penalties and increase the chance of being held until trial.

** Non-Citizens ** Non-Citizens who are arrested RISK immigration consequences
including deportation, exclusion from admission, or denial of naturalization, depending on the seriousness of the charges and the end result of the case. If detained or arrested, do NOT sign anything without a lawyer present.

** Medication** It is possible that people who need medication or medical attention MAY NOT be given the medication or treatment they are entitled to while in police custody. People with SERIOUS medical conditions should demand to be taken to a treatment facility. Treatment will PROBABLY result in a delay in release. We recommend that medication be carried, or given to a support person, in the appropriate marked container together with a letter from a doctor explaining the need for the medication.

**Minors** People under 18 are segregated from adults and are SOMETIMES released without charges but are also SOMETIMES charged and held until released to a parent or custodian. Thus, charges against minors ARE NOT automatically dismissed.

[The above is provided by your activists' legal collective for informational purposes only.
For legal advice, please contact a lawyer.]

June 20-25 2003 ACTIVIST HOTLINES:

In trouble (street or jail): 916-359-1081

For observers, friends, family, or legal updates: 916-321-4627


http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/06/266787.shtml

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