What are My Rights if I am Stopped by an Immigration Officer?
If you are stopped by an immigration officer, police officer, or some other authority, you have important legal rights. The most important legal rights are the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
· You have the right to remain silent and you do not have to answer any questions until you speak with an attorney. Not answering questions is not a crime.
· You have an absolute right to an attorney, but the authorities do not have to pay for your attorney. Authorities are required by law to give you a list of free or low cost attorneys. We recommend that you place our telephone number in your cell phone so that you can call us immediately if you need help. 513-793-6555. We focus our practice on immigration law.
· You have a right not to sign any papers unless you have spoken with an attorney. Do not sign anything without your attorney’s approval.
· You may have a right to a hearing before an immigration judge (if you have not already been ordered deported.)
· If you do have a right to a hearing before an immigration judge, you have the right to know the charges against you and to offer a defense.
· You have a right to speak with your consulate
In your home
· You have legal rights in your home. Never let any authorities in your home without a warrant. Be sure the warrant has your correct name and address on it without opening the door.
· If the warrant is from an immigration officer, you have the right to step outside. DO NOT let an immigration officer into your home.
· If the authorities do not have a warrant, do not let them into your home. If they come in anyway, say that you are not consenting to a search. Write down their badge numbers and names if possible.
In your car
· Only drive if you have a valid driver’s license.
· If you are stopped, give the authority your license and registration. You do not have to answer questions about your immigration status.
· If authorities ask permission to search your car, say “NO.” They cannot search your car without probable cause. (Probable cause is good reason to believe a crime is being committed.)
Immigration is a very specialized area of law; so, be sure your attorney focuses his practice on immigration and protecting your legal rights. We focus our practice on immigration law and you can reach us at 513-793-6555 or Thomasjr@geygan.com. We will gently walk you through the immigration issues and aggressively fight for your legal rights.