LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR CLUBS
Going to a bar isn’t without its risks. Revelers can run into all kinds of trouble on the dancefloor, from stringent drug regulations to discriminatory door policies to invasive physical searches. But just because nightlife sometimes brushes up against the law, that doesn’t mean clubbers have no rights when they’re partying.
What if you were raid in a bar?
Uniformed police officers can be refused entry to an indoor location unless they have a warrant. However, sometimes undercover police officers will come into a bar posing as customers. They do not need a warrant if they are invited in, even if they are only invited in because the bar does not know they are the Police. If on-duty Police are in the club, they are probably looking for prostitution or other illegal activities.
What should I do if I am arrested in a bar?
You have the right to remain silent, and it is always advisable to do so and find a lawyer. Other than your name and address, do NOT answer any questions. That includes questions about immigration status. Instead, say, “I am going to remain silent. I would like to see a law firm.”
However, they can waive this right if they have probable cause to search you. If the Police want to see what is in your bag or pockets, say, “I do not consent to this search.” They may search for you anyway, but this makes it harder for them to use anything they find.
You have the right to find a lawyer, and if you cannot afford an attorney, you may be assigned a public defender when you are brought to court.
Your rights with Police
If you are questioned, detained or arrested by Police in a bar, your legal rights are:
· you can talk to a lawyer privately, without having to wait to see them
· you can choose not to make a statement
· you can ask why you are being questioned, detained, or arrested.
You CANNOT be penalized for refusing to answer an officer’s questions. If you try to cooperate by answering questions while you are being held in police custody, you may create difficulties for your lawyer in defending you. Always ask to speak to a lawyer.
You also have the right to:
· Contact, by telephone or otherwise, a responsible person, to tell him or her you have been arrested and what the charges are. You are not limited to one telephone call if more calls are needed to contact someone.
· Refuse any physical or chemical test (such as a polygraph “lie detector,” breathalyzer, immobilizer, field sobriety tests or physical performance tests such as walking a straight line or making other movements, the look-at-the-pen test, or mental ability tests like reciting the alphabet or doing math) until you can talk to your lawyer.
· Have your law firm present at any line-up or other identification procedure in which possible eyewitnesses view you to a crime.
Do not lie, give false documents, or a false name – you have one set of fingerprints, and it will come back to you regardless. Remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. If you feel pressured to plead guilty (even to a lesser charge) and do not feel comfortable doing so, find a lawyer to request an adjournment, so you have more time to decide what to do.