IF YOU ARE STOPPED BY THE POLICE
Stay calm. Don't run. Don't argue, resist or obstruct the police, even if you are innocent or police are violating your rights. Keep your hands where police can see them.
Ask if you are under arrest. If the officer says no, you should be able to leave. Calmly walk away. If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why.
You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may "pat down" your clothing if they suspect a weapon. Don't physically resist, but you have the right to refuse consent for any further search.
THE SAFEST WAY TO DEAL WITH POLICE
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
ANYTHING YOU SAY TO POLICE CAN (AND LIKELY WILL) BE USED AGAINST YOU IN COURT.
You have the right to remain completely silent if stopped or arrested by police.
THE ONLY INFORMATION YOU MUST PROVIDE THE POLICE IS YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS.
After giving your name and address, you do not have to tell police anything or respond to ANY QUESTIONS, even if police repeatedly ask you something. Clearly and repeatedly say: "I wish to remain silent. I want a lawyer."
IF STOPPED IN YOUR CAR
Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible. Place your hands on the wheel.
Upon request, show police your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance.
If an officer asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search. But if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent.
Repeat: "I do not consent to a search." It is unlawful for police to arrest you for not consenting to a search. Passengers also have the right to remain silent.
IF THE POLICE COME TO YOUR HOME
If the police come to your home, STEP OUTSIDE AND CLOSE THE DOOR while talking to them. You can refuse to let police in if they do not have a warrant.
Repeatedly say, "I do not consent to the search" and ask for a lawyer. IF you refuse to allow a search of your home, the police cannot come in under most circumstances.
If the officer says he has a warrant, ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door or holdout up to the widow so you can inspect it. Officers can only search the areas and floor the items listed on the warrant or enter the home of the person on the warrant if they believe the person is inside. Even with a warrant, you have the right to remain silent.
IF YOU ARE ARRESTED
Do not resist arrest under any circumstance.
Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Police should stop asking questions at that point. Do not say anything, sign anything or make any decisions without a lawyer.
You have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer. All jail phone calls may be recorded. However, calls to the St. John Public Defender's Office are not. Do not talk to anyone about your case, except your lawyer.
YOUR RIGHT TO BAIL
The Louisiana Constitution guarantees bail to all charged with a non-capital offense. If you think you can pay a lower bail amount, ask your public defender for a bond reduction hearing.
When you give a commercial bail bondsman 10-12% of the amount of your bail, that money will not be returned. A good alternative to a commercial bail bondsman is a Personal Security Bond which allows a person to use their property or some other item of value.
YOUR RIGHTS IN COURT
If you are arrested and placed in jail, you are entitled to an Initial Appearance before magistrate or district court WITHIN 72 HOURS OF YOUR ARREST.
You have the right to an attorney for any crime for which you could be sent to jail. The court is required to appoint you an attorney at no cost..
If you get out of jail and wish to be represented by the Public Defender, you must go to the ST. JOHN PUBLIC DEFENDER OFFICE, located at 425 West Airline Highway, Suite, D, LaPlace, LA 70068 on THURSDAY between 10:00am - 4:30pm, to apply for an attorney.
This information is intended to make you aware of your most basic rights and liberties and provide practical resources. It is not a substitute for legal counsel.
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PUBLIC DEFENDER OFFICE
COURT APPOINTED LAWYERS IN THE 40TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT