Robert G Lowe, PL
Attorney and Counselor at Law
Clearwater, Florida
Phone: 727.647.3700


WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE STOPPED BY THE POLICE

For personalized answers to your specific situation please contact Bob by e-mail or by phone at 727-647-3700.


What to do if you are stopped by the Police

What you say to the police is always important. You do not have to answer a police officer's questions, but if you do, remember that what you say can be used against you and it can give the police an excuse to arrest you!
  • Be polite and respectful. Never bad-mouth a police officer.
  • Stay calm and in control of yourself. Think carefully about your words, movement, body language, and emotions.
  • Do not get into an argument with the police.
  • Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you. You do not have to answer a police officer's questions, but you must show your driver's license and registration when stopped in a car. In other situations, you cannot legally be arrested for refusing to identify yourself to a police officer.
  • Keep your hands where the police can see them.
  • Do not run. Do not touch any police officer.
  • Do not resist even if you believe you are innocent. Do not interfere with, or obstruct the police - you can be arrested for it.
  • Do not complain on the scene or tell the police they are wrong or that you are going to file a complaint.
  • Do not make any statements regarding the incident.
  • Do not consent to a search of yourself, your car or your house. If you do consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court.
  • If the police say they have a search warrant, ASK TO SEE IT.
  • Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.
  • Remember officers' badge and patrol car numbers. Write down everything you remember ASAP.
  • Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.
  • If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.
  • If you feel, your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with police department's internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.
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What if you are stopped for questioning?

  • It is not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but refusing to answer might make the police suspicious about you. You cannot be arrested merely for refusing to identify yourself on the street.
  • Police may "pat-down" your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. Do not physically resist, but make it clear that you do not consent to any further search.
  • Ask if you are under arrest. If you are, you have a right to know why.
  • Do not bad-mouth the police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.
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What if you are Stopped in your Car?

Florida's legislative history for Senate Bill No. 436 included the following findings in support of enacting the Castle Doctrine:
  • Upon request, show them your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant as long as the police have probable cause. To protect yourself later, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.
  • If you're given a ticket, you should sign it; otherwise you can be arrested. You can always fight the case in court later.
  • If you're suspected of drunk driving (DWI) and refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test, your driver's license may be suspended
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Florida Open Carry

Open Carry refers to the act of carrying a firearm in plain sight. Florida is one of seven states that do not allow the open carry of firearms. Governor Rick Scott supports open carry legislation to reverse the current prohibition. Open-Carry.org is a grass roots movement made up of people who seek to protect and expand their individual right to keep and bear arms and are willing to exercise that right. top


Where can I go to obtain legal advice on this issue?

The material on this web site represents general legal advice. Since the law is continually changing, some provisions may be out of date. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case. If you believe you need legal advice, call your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, please contact Bob by e-mail or by phone at 727-647-3700. Or call The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-342-8011, or the local lawyer referral service or legal aid office listed in the yellow pages of your telephone book.

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        For personalized answers to your specific situation please contact Bob by e-mail or by phone at 727-647-3700.


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This site was last updated August 2015.