Monday, July 22, 2024

It’s Time to Familiarise Yourself With Your Rights.

June 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Money/Business, Politics, Weekly Columns

( The recent protests we’ve seen against police misconduct and police brutality have got many of us thinking about many different things – whether we’re protesting or not and regardless of where we are in the world. We may be thinking about the state of racial affairs in America. We may be thinking about institutionalised issues. We may be thinking about personal issues. We may be thinking about all manner of things. But one issue that many people have begun to think about is their rights when it comes to arrest, legal action and other situations that we could find ourselves in at some point along the line. Many of us are actually extremely unfamiliar with our rights when it comes to being confronted with police and other law enforcement officers. We’re not sure exactly what we’re supposed to do. We’re not sure what we can or can’t do or say. We feel a little lost on the issue. This is problematic. After all, you need to know your rights in order to enforce your rights and for people to ensure that you are being treated in a proper and fair way. Here are just a few pieces of information that everyone should know and be familiar with. Hopefully, you won’t ever have to use any of this information yourself. But it’s one of those subjects or areas where it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Knowing Your Rights

It’s also important to know your rights while you are out and about. You never know when you may be approached by police. Here are a few situations or locations you should be familiar with.

In the Street

Sometimes, people are stopped by police in the street. It’s important to know that you have the right to request to see the identification documents of any officer who is speaking to you and to see their warrant card if they do attempt to arrest you without giving reason. You can also ask why you have been stopped and, if searched, you can request a record of the search after the process has been completed. Remember that you have the right to be treated humanely through any process.

In a Police Station

If you are asked to go to the police station and are detained there, know that you have the right to see any written information governing how you should be being treated while you are in the station in order to ensure that officers are doing as they should. You can also request to speak to a custody officer, who is in charge of your welfare at all times while in the station. You have a right to know why you’ve been arrested and you have the right to contact legal help. Remember that you can only be kept in custody for a set period of time. Often, there is also the option of bail and you can find out information on do you get bail money back here.

In Your Home

Police don’t all too often enter your home and they can’t do so without being given authority or a warrant to do so. If police do not have a warrant, they will have to ask your permission to enter your home and you can deny this. Those with a warrant do not require any permission to enter. Sometimes, in extreme scenarios, police can enter your home without a warrant or consent – perhaps to capture an escaped prisoner, searching your property following your arrest, to protect a life, or to ensure serious damage isn’t carried out to the property for some reason.

Being Familiar with the Arrest Process

If you ever are arrested, it’s a good idea to be familiar with how a typical arrest process should go. This will give you a good idea of whether officers are being fair and doing their jobs as they should. It can also help to prevent you from getting into further trouble down the line in the legal process.Your legal rights can vary depending on your location and it would be nigh on impossible to list all of the variations that you could encounter based on exactly where you live. Do some research into your local area and if you are ever travelling, it’s a good idea to look up local law before you head there. If you are ever arrested, it’s extremely important that you remain calm and do not panic. Sure, this situation may be unfamiliar, intimidating or scary. But lashing out, using abusive language, or resisting arrest is likely to kickstart a series of events that could prove detrimental to you. When you are officially arrested, police will generally make a statement to inform you of this. Remember, if in doubt, you can always ask if you are being officially arrested and whether you have to stay or whether you can leave. You also do not have to say anything to the police until you have a legal professional and representative at your side. It is generally recommended that you remain quiet until you have consulted your solicitor, who you will be able to contact once you have arrived at the police station.

Of course, it’s unlikely you will need this information ready on a day to day basis. But you never know when police intervention can happen in your life and it’s a good idea to make sure that you are familiar with your rights, what should happen and other information to keep processes safe, regulated and minimise difficulties down the line. Remember to better research law in your own area for more specific details on processes and protocols that should be in place where you live.

Staff Writer; Carla Love

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