Do Americans Know The Law Regarding Police Stops?

Do Americans Know The Law Regarding Police Stops?
  Most Americans know their rights and responsibilities regarding interactions with the police. Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) Americans know drivers must show police officers photo identification if requested, while 14% think this is not required. Slightly fewer, but still an overwhelming majority (80%) know that a person may refuse a police officer’s request to search the person’s car. A fifth (20%) believe individuals must comply with a requested vehicle search. Seventy percent (70%) also correctly believe citizens are not required to tell police officers where they are going if asked, while 30% believe people are required to answer.
Based on what you know now, if during a police stop a police officer asks…
  YES NO
… for your photo identification, are you legally required to provide it? 86% √ 14%
… to search your car, are you legally allowed to refuse? 80% √ 20%
… where you are going, are you legally required to answer? 30% 70% √
Americans vary little across demographic and political groups in knowing their basic rights and responsibilities when interacting with police officers, with a few exceptions. Hispanics are about twice as likely as whites to believe they must tell a police officer where they are going if asked (47% vs. 25%) and to believe they can’t refuse a police officer’s request to search their car (34% vs. 16%). African Americans are between whites and Hispanics. High school graduates (38%) are about twice as likely as college graduates (19%) to incorrectly believe that a citizen is required by law to tell a police officer where they are going when asked. Nevertheless majorities of Americans overall tend to know the law regarding police stops.


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