Legal info

Update 6/10: NLG-NYC has confirmed that NYPD and FBI have been interrogating arrested protesters about their political beliefs and associations. You have no obligation to submit to such question and it is dangerous to do so. You have the right to say, "I am going to remain silent and I want to speak with a lawyer." Call NYC NLG at 212-679-6018 to speak to an attorney.

Before going to the protest:

  • Write these phone numbers on your body:

  • Free Arrest Support Hotline // 1-833-3-GOOD-CALL (346-6322)

  • Legal Aid Society Hotline // 212-577-3300

  • NYC National Lawyers Guild (NLG) // 212-679-6018

  • Phone number of someone you trust for potential arrest-related support

  • Make emergency or contingency plans before attending the protest in case of arrest and share them with someone you trust.

If a cop tries to talk with you at the protest or knocks on your door anytime after:

  • Cops and FBI agents are legally allowed to lie to you, but lying to a cop or federal officer is a crime.

  • You have the right to remain silent. Assume anything you say to a cop or FBI agent will be used against you.

  • If you are home, do not let them inside. Do not answer any questions. Tell the agent that you do not wish to talk with them. If you tell them that, you can close the door behind you so they cannot peek in.

  • You do not have to let cops or FBI agents into your home or office unless they have and show you a valid search warrant. However, they might still search your home without a warrant. If they do, say out loud "I do not consent to this search." Any interference to a search (with or without a warrant) might get you arrested.

If you are arrested at a protest or at home:

  • Call NYC NLG (212 679 6018) with NAME, TIME, AND PLACE OF ARREST

  • If the cops ask for a DNA swab, you have the right to refuse. If you are offered a drink, cigarette or gum in the precinct, beware that it is a trick to steal your DNA for the NYC's rogue index.

  • You have a right to remain silent. Ask for a lawyer--its your right. DON’T discuss your citizenship or immigration status with anyone other than your lawyer.

  • Don’t sign anything without understanding what it says/talking to a lawyer. Call one of the numbers above. Don’t rely on the cops to explain it to you.

  • If you are treated badly, write down the officer/s’ badge number/s and name. You have a right to ask for this information. Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

  • Cops may frisk you/pat you down after telling you that you are under arrest and may take any money or personal belongings you have on you.

  • You have the right to make three local phone calls or three collect out of town calls. The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer. They can and often will listen to a call made to anyone else.

  • You may be detained for a few hours or overnight. People arrested in New York must be arraigned within 24 hours after arrest unless the police can provide a reasonable explanation for the delay.

  • You will be asked for basic information about yourself (such as your address and birth date), and be fingerprinted and photographed. You may also be asked to participate in a line-up, or provide a handwriting sample.

  • After being detained, you will probably be moved to Central Booking, which is located in the courthouse you will be arraigned in. Sometimes, you will get issued a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) that instructs you to go to the courthouse at a later date.

  • At Central Booking, you will be medically evaluated. Some cops lie to people who need medication from asking for it, by telling them that a trip to the hospital for medication will delay their release from jail by several days. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

  • The arraignment will occur in a courtroom in which you will hear the charges against you and a plea offer, which may be called a “disposition offer.”If you are pleading “not guilty,” the court will then ask the District Attorney for a recommendation on whether you should be released on your own recognizance (“ROR’d”) or have bail set. Your attorney should argue for ROR and inform the court if a friend or family member is in the audience to vouch for you.


*this information was adapted from several sources, including Astoria Mutual Aid, the NYC Legal Aid Society and the NYC National Lawyers Guild*


A list of legal resources can be found here