I’m going to a protest. What do I need to know?

5. Know the options if police violate your rights

Even if you think the police are violating your rights, it's usually not a good idea to fight back when it happens.

The police are allowed to use reasonable physical force if they're trying to you. If you fight back, the police can increase the amount of force they use, and they may you with more offences. If you don't understand something the police say, you can tell them you don't understand.

Try to stay calm and make mental notes of as many details as you can. You can use these details later to file an official complaint or to the police. If you're charged with an , your lawyer may be able to use these details to get certain thrown out of court.

Some of the details you can pay attention to are:

  • the police officer's badge number
  • identifying numbers on the side of a police vehicle
  • any names of officers you hear
  • your location
  • the time
  • names of any people you know who witnessed the incident
  • what the officers say or do

If you're injured while interacting with the police, it's usually a good idea to take photographs of the injuries. It's also usually a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible to get an official medical record of your injuries.

Your legal options

Depending on how the police violated your rights you can:

Each of these legal options has advantages and disadvantages. A lawyer or paralegal can help you to understand which option is best for you.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers will provide “unbundled services” or “limited scope ” services. This means you pay them to help you with only part of your case.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer at all, you may be able to find legal help in other places. There are various programs and services available for criminal law matters.

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