How Can I Avoid the Police Questioning Me About My Legal Status?

Let’s face it, racial profiling happens. However; most police officers will not stop to question you without a legal justification, like investigating a criminal or civil violation.

Our attorneys have reviewed thousands of police incident reports and immigration related documents and have found that the following are the most common civil (non-criminal) justifications for being stopped and questioned by the police in Arizona:

  • Cracked windshields that impair the driver’s vision
  • Faulty/broken tail lights or turn signal
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Expired vehicle tags
  • Using a cell phone while driving
  • Not doing complete stops at a stop sign
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Turning or changing lanes without a turn signal
  • Other similar traffic violations

If you are driving and are pulled over for one of these reasons, the officer can then ask you for your driver’s license, car registration and proof of insurance.

If you cannot provide this, it can lead to harsh penalties, fines, and in some situations—arrest. It can also lead to the officer questioning you about your legal status and/or alerting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate your status.

Other suggestions to help reduce the risk of arrest or the questioning of your legal status are:

  • Don’t drive without a license: wherever possible have a family member or friend who has driver’s license drive you around or use Uber, Lyft or other public transportation
  • If you don’t have a driver’s license, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to see if you qualify for lawful status or work permission to be eligible for a state driver’s license or identification
  • Never drink and drive
  • Know your rights (See below)

Can I Be Stopped By Police for Not Wearing a Face Mask?

Please see the following link for requirements for masks in the valley:

Know Your Rights

If you are stopped by the police, you should know your rights.

  • First, you should stay calm, don’t argue with the officer even if you believe your rights are being violated.
  • If you are driving and are pulled over, the police officer may require you to show your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
  • You do not have to answer questions about your immigration status, and you should never lie about your immigration status or provide false documents.
  • It is best to exercise you right to remain silent and do not disclose anything about your immigration status.
  • You also have the right to an attorney. Make sure you do not sign any documents or make any decisions without consulting an attorney first. Keep our phone number nearby.

Please feel free to save, copy or print these rights cards to carry with you:

rights card for immigrants

know your rights card

Call our Immigration team at (480) 626-2388 to discuss your case today.

Schedule Your Consultation / Programe su Consulta

Call our Immigration team at (480) 626-2388 or fill out the contact form to discuss your case today.

Llame a nuestro equipo de leyes de inmigración al (480) 626-2388 para hablar sobre su caso hoy.