Law enforcement officers in Florida must treat everyone fairly, regardless of race, ethnicity,
national origin, or religion. This article will give you information in case you have contact with
the police, immigration agents, or the FBI, and helps you understand your rights. The following
information is not intended nor a substitute for legal advice.
You have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you’re a U.S. citizen,
or how you entered the country. (Separate rules apply at international borders and airports.)
You are only expected to identify yourself to Florida law enforcement officers (police officers
and Sheriff’s deputies, not immigration or FBI agents) when you are stopped on suspicion of a
crime or a traffic violation. If you don’t have identification documents, you may choose to
You have zero obligation to provide your name or “show your papers” to an ICE officer for any
If you choose to volunteer information about your legal immigration status (i.e., “I am a
permanent resident” or “I am here on a temporary visa,”), you have the option to only do so
when you are carrying your papers and ready to show them.
If You are Stopped and Questioned
Keep calm. Do not run. Do not argue, resist, or obstruct the officer, even if you are innocent and
the police are violating your rights. Always keep your hands where the officer can see them.
Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, move calmly and quietly. If you are arrested,
you have the right to know why.
You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions. If
you want to remain silent, tell the officer out loud. But note that you are expected to identify
yourself to Florida law enforcement officers when you are stopped on suspicion of a crime or a
You are not required to give permission to have your person or belongings searched. Officers can
search your person if they suspect you have a weapon. You must not resist physically, but you
have the right to refuse a search. If you consent, this can harm you later in court. In conclusion, it
is best not to consent to a search.
If You are Stopped in Your Vehicle
Stop the vehicle in a safe place as soon as possible. Turn off the car, turn on the interior light,
open the window a little and place your hands on the steering wheel. If you are requested, show
the police your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. If you are not in possession
of the required documents, you may choose to remain silent.
If an officer asks to search the inside of your car, you can deny this request. However, if the
officer believes that your car contains evidence of a crime, they can conduct a search without
Both the driver and passenger(s) have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you can
ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, remain seated in silence or leave calmly. Even
if the officer says no, you have the right to remain silent.
If the Police or Immigration Agents Arrive at Your Home
If officers arrive at your house, you do not have to let them in unless they have certain types of
Ask the officer to pass the court order under the door or hold it at the door window for you to
review. A search warrant allows law enforcement officers to enter the address indicated in the
order, but officers can only search the area for the items that are mentioned in the order. An
arrest warrant allows officers to enter the house of the person indicated in the order if they
believe the person is inside. Deportation/removal orders and "ICE warrants" do not allow
immigration agents to enter your home without your permission.
Even if the agents or officers have a court order, you have the right to remain silent. If you
choose to speak with them, leave and close the door.
If You are Arrested
Do not resist arrest, even if you think it is an unfair arrest.
Say you want to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Do not give any explanation or
pretext. If you cannot pay for a lawyer, and you have been arrested on suspicion of a crime, one
will be provided for you. If you have been arrested for immigration/deportation proceedings, a
lawyer will not be provided, but you have the right to hire a lawyer; ask to call our offices at
(904) 398-1992. Do not say anything, sign anything, or make any decision without one of our
You have the right to make one local call. Law enforcement officers may not listen to your
conversation if you request to call a lawyer unless you consent; if you are being held for
immigration/deportation proceedings, ask explicitly for a phone that is not monitored. Then
proceed to call our office immediately.
Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested. Memorize the phone numbers of your
family members and our office. Make emergency plans if you have children or need to take
Considerations for Noncitizens
Ask our lawyers at Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki about the impact on your immigration
status, if you receive a criminal conviction or are considering pleading guilty to the charges.
And remember, DO NOT talk about your immigration status with anyone except our legal team.
Any information you give to us is considered attorney-client privilege (cannot be used against
you in court).
Call Our Immigration Experts at Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki Today
Call us at (904) 398-1992 if you or a loved one is currently experiencing immigration issues. It is
important to get representation from an attorney immediately. The longer you wait, the more
difficult your case may get. We will be awaiting you call!