Know Your Rights and Other Resources
Check out the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee (MDC) to see if you can find a support network of attorneys providing legal support for political activists near you.
Check out these detailed resources on:
- What to do if you are contacted by the FBI
- Information about Grand Juries
- How to prepare as a defendant
This is information that should not be interpreted as legal advice. If needing legal advice, please contact an attorney.
If you are in the Austin area, save our hotline number before you go out: 512-855-0756
Preparing if you go out to a protest
Let someone who you trust know that you are going to be out: this should be your emergency contact. They should know you are out and help if you get arrested.
Think about if you have work the following day, and if there is someone you know, like your emergency contact who could call in for you if necessary. Make any other arrangements necessary for the next 24 hours (or possibly more), let your emergency contact or someone else know who will not be out with you.
It is best to not bring your phone, but if a phone is brought, disable the fingerprint unlock feature beforehand, and lock your phone with a passcode.
You do not have to give law enforcement your name or show identification unless you are suspected of criminal activity. If a police officer stops you stay calm and don’t resist. Ask if you are free to leave; if you are, walk away; if you are not, ask why. Do not give false information to law enforcement.
You have the right to remain silent and can refuse answering questions.
If you are being arrested, make sure someone knows your legal name and birthdate so they can look you up in the system.
DO NOT speak to law enforcement without a lawyer. You may invoke these rights by saying “I am invoking my right to remain silent. I want a lawyer.”
If you are booked into jail, call a lawyer or our legal aid line immediately and we will work to help connect you with an attorney.
After you are released, do not make public statements about your arrest or speak to media. This can be used against you in your case.
Let someone who you trust know that you are going to be out– this should be your emergency contact. They should be able to help if you get arrested.