Police lights at night.

Misconceptions About Police Encounters

  • You don’t have to answer all of the officer’s questions. You have the right to remain silent, and you should exercise that right if you are uncomfortable or unsure of what to say.
  • You don’t have to consent to a search of your person or vehicle. You have the right to refuse a search, but the police may still search you if they have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime.
  • You don’t have to obey all police orders. You only have to obey lawful police orders. If you are unsure whether an order is lawful, you can ask the officer.

Important Oklahoma Specifics to Keep in Mind

  • Oklahoma is NOT a “stop and identify” state. Therefore, you are only required to provide identification and answer questions about your identity during a traffic stop. You’re NOT required to identify yourself to law enforcement if you were walking in a public area and asked for identification.
  • Oklahoma has a “consent statute” for vehicle searches. This means that the police can search your vehicle without a warrant if you consent to the search. However, you have the right to refuse a search without consequence.
  • Oklahoma has a “probable cause” requirement for warrants. This means that the police must have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed to obtain a warrant.
  • In Oklahoma, you can refuse to perform field sobriety tests without facing immediate penalties. However, refusing a breathalyzer test may result in license suspension.

Tips For Police Encounters in Oklahoma:

Do:

  • Be polite and respectful, even if you are angry or frustrated.
  • Remain calm and do not argue.
  • Ask the officer why you have been stopped.
  • If you are asked to show identification, provide it promptly.
  • If you are asked to step out of your vehicle, do so calmly.
  • If you are arrested, ask the officer why you are being arrested, do not resist, and ask for a lawyer. You have the right to have a lawyer present during any questioning.
  • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to leave the encounter. Politely ask if you are free to go. If you are detained, you are not obligated to answer questions without legal counsel.
  • Be prepared to record the encounter using your cell phone, as it can be helpful in filing a complaint or avoiding false accusations.

Don’t:

  • Consent to a search without probable cause.
  • Answer any questions that you are not comfortable answering.
  • Try to run away or resist arrest.

Remember: Understanding your rights empowers you during police encounters and will help you feel more confident and prepared. If you find yourself in a complex legal situation, seek legal counsel immediately to fully protect your rights. Our team of Fierce Advocates is always prepared to answer your legal questions, so don’t hesitate to reach out!