- About About
Medical Patient Resources Cannabis Care Certification Patient's Guide to Medical Cannabis Patient's Guide to CBD Talking to your doctor Become a Legal Medical Marijuana Patient The Medical Cannabis Patient’s Guide for U.S. Travel Guide to Using Medical Cannabis Cannabis Tincture, Salve, Butter and Oil Recipes Arthritis and Medical Cannabis Cancer and Medical Cannabis Chronic Pain and Medical Cannabis Gastrointestinal Disorders and Medical Cannabis HIV/AIDS and Medical Cannabis Movement Disorders and Medical Cannabis Multiple Sclerosis and Medical Cannabis Aging and Medical Cannabis Veterans and Medical Cannabis Medical Marijuana Conditions in Your Area Growing Cannabis Tracking Treatment & Gathering Data with Releaf App Medical Professional Resources Medical Cannabis Continuing Medical Education (CME) Cannabis Safety Medical Cannabis Research
- Legal Legal
Advocacy ASA Chapters Start an ASA Chapter Take Action Congress Must Act for Cannabis Patients! Pass Medical Cannabis Legislation NOW! Campaigns No Patient Left Behind End Pain, Not Lives Vote Medical Marijuana Medical Cannabis Advocate's Training Center Resources for Tabling and Lobby Days Strategic Planning Civics 101 Strategic Messaging Citizen Lobbying Participating in Implementation Movement Building Organizing a Demonstration Organizing Turnout for Civic Meetings Public Speaking Media 101 Patient's History of Medical Cannabis
- News News
Policy Policy Positions Model Federal Legislation Download Ending The Federal Conflict Public Comments by ASA Industry Standards Guide to Regulating Industry Standards Reports 2021 State of the States Medical Cannabis Access for Pain Treatment Cannabis and Cannabis Resin- Critical Review Preparation Document Recognizing Science using the Data Quality Act Data Quality Act Briefs Fact Sheet on ASA's Data Quality Act Petition to HHS ASA Data Quality Act petition to HHS Information on Lawyers and Named Patients in the Data Quality Act Lawsuit
- Join Join
ARCHIVE Published on: 2010-01-01
Law Enforcement Encounters
When dealing with law enforcement officers, keep your hands in view and don't make sudden movements. Avoid passing behind them. Nervous officers are dangerous officers. Also, never touch law enforcement officers or their equipment—you can get hurt, charged with assault, or both.
Law enforcement officers do not decide your charges; they can only make recommendations. The prosecutor is the only person who can actually charge you. Remember that officers have no power to negotiate or charge; promises of leniency or threats of harsher penalties are all lies and are designed to get you to start talking.
When the law enforcement officers are trying to get information, but don't have enough evidence to detain or arrest you, they'll try to coerce information from you. They may call this a "casual encounter" or a "friendly conversation." If you talk to them, you may give them the information they need to arrest you or your friends. In most situations, it is not advisable to volunteer information to law enforcement officers. Ask if you are free to leave, and if you are, walk away. If you are being detained or arrested, let the officer know that you do not consent to a search and that you wish to remain silent and want a lawyer.
Police can detain you only if they have reasonable suspicion (see below) that you are involved in a crime. Detention means that, though you aren't arrested, you can't leave. Detention is supposed to last a short time and they are not supposed to move you. During detention, law enforcement officers can pat you down and go into your bag to make sure you don't have any weapons. They aren't supposed to go into your pockets unless they feel a weapon.
If law enforcement officers are asking you questions, ask if you are being detained. If not, leave and say nothing else to them. If you are being detained, you should ask why, and remember their answer. Then you should say the Magic Words: "I am going to remain silent. I want a lawyer" and nothing else. Remain silent. Anything you say to law enforcement may be used against you, and sometimes it's hard to recognize that the information you are volunteering might harm you. It is always better to say nothing at all.
If they ask to search your person or belongings, say, "I do not consent to a search." They may say, "Empty your pockets." You are within your rights to refuse. If you do empty your pockets, it is considered consent and anything they find in your pockets may be used against you.
A detention can easily turn into arrest. If law enforcement officers are detaining you and they get information that you are involved in a crime, they will arrest you, even if it has nothing to do with why they stopped you.
For example, if someone is pulled over for speeding (detained) and the officer sees drugs in the car, the officer may arrest her for possession of the drugs, even though it has nothing to do with her being pulled over. Law enforcement officers have two reasons to detain you: 1) they are writing you a citation (a traffic ticket, for example), or 2) they want to arrest you but they don't yet have enough information to do so.
Police can arrest you only if they have probable cause (see below) that you are involved in a crime. When you are arrested, the officers can search you to the skin and go through your car and any belongings. If arrested, you should still say, "I do not consent to a search" to preserve your rights. After that, say, "I choose to remain silent and I want a lawyer." After that, remain silent. Law enforcement will try to get you to give them information about the crime(s) they are holding you for. Keep in mind that denying things that they say is NOT remaining silent.
Was this helpful?