What rights do you have when you are pulled over by the police?

What do you do when you get pulled over by a police officer? Teens may not understand what rights everyone has in this situation. When you first get pulled over, the officer will explain why they have pulled you over. One of your main rights is the right to remain silent. If the officer asks you “Do you know how fast you were going,” you don’t have to respond. Your silence won’t be used against you in court. Always do as the officer tells you, do not argue with him/her, that will only make the situation worse. The officer may not tell you before, that you can refuse a search under your fourth amendment right.  Knowing your rights is very important especially when it involves the law.

The Supreme Court has dealt with cases involving the fourth and fifth amendment rights. One case is Salinas V. Texas (2013) . Genovevo Salinas was accused of murdering two men. The police went to his parents house and took Salinas in for questioning. But before they took Salinas for questioning, his father gave the police Salinas’s shotgun. The police didn’t read off the Miranda warning, which wasn’t required since he wasn’t in custody. Salinas didn’t say anything when the police asked him, “ if the shotgun would match the shells recovered at the scene of the murder.” The government used Salinas silence against him and found him guilty. This violated the fourth amendment right, that says your silence will not be used against you in court.

Another case is Mapp V. Ohio (1961). In this case the police suspected that Dollree Mapp was harboring fugitives in her home. When the police came to her house they asked if they could search. Mapp refused the search but the officers proceeded anyway. They broke down her doors and searched the house. Mapp asked if they had a warrant and they showed her a piece of paper but didn’t allow her to look closely. They didn’t find fugitives instead they found lewd pictures and books. Dollree Mapp was arrested because of the Ohio Law that banned obscene material. In court this evidence was used against her. The police never showed the warrant in court. This case violated Mapp’s fourth amendment right of not being searched without a warrant.

The next case I will talk about is about a Japanese American whose fifth amendment right was taken away. This case is known as Korematsu V. United States (1944). Fred Korematsu was a Japanese American who lived in California. He refused to leave when he was ordered into a Japanese internment camp. Korematsu said that he felt deprived of living freely. He was arrested for not obeying the order. The government said that his arrest wasn’t because of racial prejudice but because of the fear of what happened in Pearl Harbor. The segregation of Japanese Americans was constitutional based off of “military urgency.” Korematsu argued that the Japanese internment camp was a violation of his 5th amendment right. Korematsu was denied this right.

Knowing your rights is very important especially when you’re dealing with the law. But as you can see, in these cases, rights were denied. There are many cases out there that rights are denied. If you know your rights and follow instructions it will be better for you. Just remember that the rights that you get are the rights that you can use. In conclusion, when it comes to facing the law remember the rights that you have.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 5:32 PM, 10.12.2015