know your rights

Please note: The information on this page is for educational purposes. It is not intended to be used as legal advice for any case. If you have additional questions, it is recommended to contact an attorney. Want more detailed info? Check out the resources available from the ACLU here.

Can the police question people who are not under arrest? 

  • Yes, the police can stop anyone and ask questions without arresting the person. This can happen when police see suspicious activity.

Your Rights & Responsibilities When Interacting with Police


  • You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.

  • Be careful with what you say to the officer because anything you say can be used against you in the court of law.

  • You have the right to an attorney if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.

  • If you are not under arrest or being detained, you have the right to calmly leave.

  • You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car, or your home.

  • You have the right to file a written complaint with the police department or contact an attorney if you feel your rights have been violated.

  • Be sure to note the badge number and name of the police officers.

  • Write the incident down and compile a witness list while the event is still fresh in your mind.

your responsibilities: 

  • Do stay calm and polite.

  • Do not interfere with or obstruct the police.

  • Do not lie or give false documents.

  • Do not argue, run away from, or touch any of the police officers.

  • Do not say anything without an attorney, but you must tell an officer your correct name and address.

what happens if the police stop me for questioning? 

  • Stay calm. Don't run, don't argue, resist, or touch the police, even if you are innocent or the police are violating your rights. You can fight that in court, but trying to fight it in the moment will only result in more serious charges for you.

  • Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away. If you are under arrest, you have the right to know why.

  • Don't volunteer information. You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for asserting that right. But remember, in California, you must give your name and address if asked to identify yourself.

  • You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may "pat down" your outer clothing if they suspect you have a weapon. You should not physically resist, but you the right to say that you do not consent to any further search.

UCSC’s responsible Action Plan

Responsible Action Plan (RAP) 

Student health and safety are of primary concern at UCSC. As such, in cases of significant intoxication as a result of alcohol or other substances, the University encourages individuals to seek medical assistance for themselves or others.

If medical assistance is sought, a conduct record for violations of the University’s Alcohol and Drugs policies will not be created for the intoxicated student or the student(s) actively seeking medical assistance so long as all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The student requests OR another person contacts a University Official (e.g., Resident Assistant (RA), Community Safety Officer (CSO), police officer, etc.) for medical assistance on behalf of a student experiencing an alcohol or controlled substance medical-related emergency, stays with the individual requiring aid, follows the requests of medical staff, meets with the appropriate University Officials, and cooperates with any University investigation.

  2. No other Code of Student Conduct violations were committed by the students involved during the same incident.

  3. The student(s) has not received amnesty under this Plan more than twice in two calendar years starting from the date of the initial incident.

  4. Neither the UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (Appendix G) Immunity clause or the UC Santa Cruz Anti-Hazing Policy already apply. 

Actively assisting requires that an individual:

  • Call UCSC Police (831-459-2231 or 911) or seek another individual qualified to assess the student’s condition such as a Resident Advisor (RA), Community Safety Officer (CSO) or other Residence Life professional.

  • Monitor the intoxicated student’s condition.

The following are not covered by the Responsible Action Plan:

  • Students that do not take action prior to arrival of a University Official or emergency personnel.

  • Action by police or other law enforcement personnel.

  • Violations of the Code of Student Conduct other than the alcohol/drugs policy.

  • Possession with the intent to distribute drugs.

  • Students who have utilized this Plan more than two times in two calendar years from the date of the initial incident.

Actions by the Office of Student Conduct:

  • The intoxicated student (and possibly those who were attending to/assisting the student) will be required to meet with a conduct officer who may issue educational requirements that may include, but are not limited to, alcohol and/or other drug education, counseling, and/or a substance abuse assessment.

  • Serious or repeated incidents may prompt a higher degree of concern/response.

  • Failure to complete the educational assignments or treatment recommendations may  result in formal disciplinary action.

  • The student will be responsible for any costs associated with alcohol and/or drug education interventions.

Application to Student Organizations:

In circumstances where an organization is found to be hosting an event where medical assistance is sought for an intoxicated individual, the organization, consistent with this plan and the stipulations above, will not be held responsible for violations of the alcohol/drugs policy. However, as with individual students, the organization will be required to meet with a University Official and participate in appropriate educational activities in order to utilize the Responsible Action Plan.

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