In light of civilians’ sometimes lethal interactions with police in the USA, Learning Life offers the following quiz on U.S. civil rights in police encounters.  Interactions with police forces are governed by local, state and U.S. (federal) laws, but many people do not know their full legal rights in these encounters.  Take this quiz to test your knowledge.  Some answers may surprise you.  Note: the answers to the questions below apply whether you are a U.S. citizen or not.   

Thanks to Learning Life writer, Craig Gusmann, and attorney, Suzanne Lachelier, for their assistance in researching, writing and editing this quiz.  

1. True or False: If the police want to search you or your belongings you have the right to refuse.


2. True or False: If you are under arrest for a crime, you lose the right to remain silent.


3. True or False: If you are not under arrest, you have the right to leave.



In which of the following cases do you have the right to an attorney if you cannot afford one?

  1. You are detained for possible deportation due to issues with your immigration papers.
  2. You file a suit against your employer because of an injury you got on the job.
  3. You are caught shoplifting from a store and arrested.
  4. You are arrested for breaking into a car.
  5. You file suit against the police or government for wrongful conduct.

5. True or False: If you are not a U.S. citizen, and an immigration officer requests your immigration papers, you must show the papers if you have them with you.