You have rights—don't give them away!

The American Civil Liberties Union works every day—in the courts, legislatures, and in the streets—to preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to everyone in this country. The U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the California Constitution spell out our hopes for the kind of society that we want to be, and protect our rights, including:

  • Right to equal protection, that is, the right to be treated equally, regardless of race, national origin, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.
  • Right to due process, that is, the right to be treated fairly by the government whenever the loss of liberty (being arrested, detained, or questioned) or property (being searched) is at stake.
  • Right to privacy, that is, the right to be free from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private business.
  • Right to free speech, association, and assembly, that is, the right to speak your mind, to meet up with whomever you choose, and to call on your government officials, publicly if you like, to make changes if you have any concerns.

Below are our most requested Know Your Rights materials.

A male in handcuffs is being escorted away by a San Diego Police Department officer and a San Diego County Sherrif

What to Do If You're Stopped by the Police/Law Enforcement

Drive CA: It's Time To Drive California Forward

AB 60 Driver's License Rights


LGBT Rights

Your First Amendment-Protected Rights

Your Rights as a Student


Picture of a Voter Information Guide

Your Voting Rights

Guide to Direct Services in San Diego County

1. What to do if you're stopped by the Police/Law Enforcement Officials

A.What to do if you're stopped by the Police/Law Enforcement Officials

  • Stay calm. Don’t run.
  • Be in control of your words, body language, and emotions. Don’t get into an argument with the police. Never bad-mouth a police officer.
  • Anything you say or do can be used against you. You have the right to remain silent.
  • Keep your hands where the police can see them.
  • Never touch a police officer.
  • Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent.
  • If you complain at the scene or tell the police they’re wrong, do it in a non-confrontational way that will not intensify the situation. Write down everything you remember as soon as possible (badge #, patrol car #, names, etc.).