Know Your Rights – Law Enforcement

What to do if you’re stopped by police, ICE or the FBI from the ACLU, A guide to law enforcement interactions.

Know Your Rights (for your Digital Devices), from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This guide answers many questions on the rules of tech during police stops.

If you are arrested, you have the right to counsel. Below are some tips from an incredible public defender and sex worker ally on what you should expect from your attorney:

  1. Everyone has the right to an attorney, but when someone tells you to ask for one is specific to where you are. Ask for a public defender and make it clear that you cannot afford an attorney. Depending on where you live, you may automatically be assigned one, but in some places you have to ask. The sooner you ask, the sooner you begin that process.
  2. Your lawyer should tell you who they are, give you contact information and take yours.
  3. They should ask you about your immigration status. Prostitution charges can lead to detention, or impact your ability to adjust your status. Especially if you are going to take a plea, make sure the charge you plead to is one which will not impact your status.
  4. They should explain to you that everything is confidential, explain what you are charged with, and explain ALL of your options. You almost always have more than one. If you are going to plead guilty to something, they should discuss *all* of the implications – to benefits, housing, immigration, any other job you have, among other things.
  5. If you have a violation (your attorney not should ask you for a date or try and have sex with you…) you can make a complaint to the state Bar Association. You can also ask your Judge to be assigned a new attorney for a reason such as inappropriate conduct or a breakdown in communication, but they may deny the request and you may not be able to get an attorney from the same office.


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