An encounter with a badge-wearing, flashlight-wielding officer of the law can be intimidating. Knowing your rights beforehand can save you a lot of worry.
The Legal Information Center and the Drug Information Center will present information about your rights during “Busted: Your Rights and the Police,” at 6 p.m. on Nov. 29 in VU 552.
The night will start with a showing of the film “Busted: A Citizens Guide to Surviving a Police Encounter.” After the movie, three lawyers from the Lustick Law Firm will answer questions about student rights.
“A lot of students have to deal with the law at some point in time in their college years,” Legal Information Center coordinator Laura Cable said. “It's good if you know about your rights and know in advance what's going to happen.”
Cable said she has talked to students who were unclear about their rights when speaking with the police.
“They ended up giving information they didn't have to, or doing things that weren't actually required of them,” Cable said. “So if you know what your rights are before hand, you know how to handle that situation.”
Some of the scenarios that are discussed in the movie include being pulled over, being stopped for suspicious behavior and being at a party, Drug Information Center coordinator Ren Hatch said.
“In any of these situations, drug use or possession can be present and the movie addresses that possibility in each case,” Hatch said.
Some of the situations depicted in the movie are situations in which no one has actually committed a crime, Hatch said. According to Cable, the police can stop you any time they have reason to believe that you've committed a crime.
“If you don't know your rights, you can't exercise them,” Hatch said.
The event will only teach students about their rights in a police encounter, Cable said.
“If you're committing a crime, it's not going to teach you how to get away with it,” Cable said. “The event is so you're educated so if you do have to deal with the police, you know exactly what to say and what to do and what you have a right to say or not say to a police officer.”
The event is also not just for students who drink or use drugs, Hatch said.
“It's for all students that want to know their rights,” Hatch said. “Your rights can get violated whether or not you use drugs.”
Citizen rights are important for everyone to know, Hatch said.
“I doubt we'll ever get to a society in which no one does illegal things,” Hatch said. “We have a right to protect ourselves whether or not we're doing illegal things.”