How To Navigate The Legal System More Confidently.

At a time when black and brown communities are interacting more than ever with police, courts and prisons, our confidence and hope in the U.S. criminal justice system continues to decrease dramatically.

In recent decades, our community's exposure to all parts of the criminal justice system has risen even faster than the rest of the population. According to a Pew Research study, the share of inmates who were Hispanic in state, federal and local prisons and jails increased from 16% in 2000 to 20% in 2008 alone with those numbers rising even higher in the years that follow.

The same Pew Research study found that a rate of more than half (56%) of Latinos said they or an immediate family member had contact with the criminal justice system in the previous five years. A statistic that is alarmingly high for a community that is now finally being recognized as part of the essential workforce sustaining industries such as construction, agriculture, and hospitality.

We rely on cops to keep us safe. But sometimes the police themselves are the danger — to your rights. Whether you actually committed a crime, or you’re dealing with an officer on a power trip, here’s a list of 30 things you should know about your rights when dealing with law enforcement.

The Basics:

The Bill of Rights: The bedrock of your rights in the face of the law.

The Fourth Amendment: Your right to protection in your “persons, houses, papers, and effects.”

Your Miranda Rights: An explanation of how you are “Mirandized” and what that means.

What is Reasonable Suspicion?: Explanation of this legal standard that applies to searches, seizures, and arrests.

What is Probable Cause?: A guide to when judges can issue warrants or justify arrests.

With a Gun:

Guarantees of the right to bear arms: A list of state constitutions that guarantee the right to bear arms.

Legal Theory, Right to Bear Arms The Legal theory behind your right to bear arms, with an emphasis on the Constitution.

Handgun Laws Map: A map linked to state-level information on handgun and carry laws.

Guide to Interstate Firearm Transportation: A guide to your rights in transporting firearms via the interstate.

Your Right to Defense Against Unlawful Arrest: A list of cases confirming your right to defend yourself against unlawful arrest.

In Public:

Stopped by the police?: ACLU’s guide to your rights and being stopped by the police.

Seven Rules for Recording Police:A guide to your rights when filming cops.

Can you swear at cops?:A guide to the difference between free speech, yelling, and swearing.

Peacefully Protesting: How to protest peacefully, effectively, and within your rights.

Rights of Non-Citizens: ACLU’s guide to non-citizen rights and law enforcement.

In the Car:

Rights when you’re pulled over: A look at when cops can and can’t pull you over.

When police can search your car:An outline of when police can and can search your car, and what your rights are.

Your Rights at Checkpoints: A guide to a variety of checkpoints and your rights.

When Police Can Use Drug Dogs: Your 4th Amendment rights and drug dog searches.

Car Passenger Rights: The 4th amendment rights of Passengers in cars stopped by police.

Fixed App: An app that helps preserve your rights when ticketed.

In your House:

Police at your door: A guide to your rights when the police come to your home.

At School:

Rights of Minor Students: A guide to who can make you answer questions as a minor.

Your rights in private school: A look at how student rights are different in public and private school.

Guide to Constitutional Rights on Campus: A series of guides on your rights as a college student.

6 Tips to Protect Your Rights in College: A guide to defending your rights when charged with a crime on campus.

At the Station:

Being Questioned: ACLU’s guide to your rights when police question you.

At the Airport:

Your rights at airports: ACLU’s guide to your rights at airports and ports of entry.

Sometimes it is enough just to be an informed citizen. Other times, you're going to need some legal help to back you up.

There is tremendous value in having a legal team in your corner at every stage of your life + business to support you to navigate the system, protect you before anything bad happens and to also have your back if something does indeed go wrong. As a collective, we often feel helpless and powerless navigating the legal system, yet it doesn't have to be that way any longer.

Along my own journey in life and business, I came across a service that I believe can really change the game for us as a community that offers an accessible and affordable alternative to paying expensive hourly attorney fees. For +/- 25 dollars a month I am able to create peace of mind for myself and my loved ones that our legal needs can be met if we should need help in any of these areas:

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It's possible to protect and empower ourselves, our families, and our communities by tapping into resources that let's us access + learn more about what our rights are, how to exercise them, and what to do when our rights are violated.

Everyone has basic rights under the U.S. Constitution and civil rights laws, regardless of immigration status. However, navigating the legal system can be intimidating. From family matters and rental agreements to business contracts and full blown court cases, there have been moments in all of our lives where consulting with a legal professional would have been in our upmost best interest, yet we were stopped in our tracks due to limited time and financial resources. Fortunately, we live in a phenomenal time where help and support are often just a finger tap or keyboard strike away.

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We really are so fortunate to live in these incredible times where we can protect and empower ourselves with a law firm in the palm of our hand. If you or someone you know could use this type of coverage in their lives, click the image below and you can learn more about the plans they have available while supporting the Latina Money platform.

“In life, you can either be a victim or you can be a survivor."

Clyde Lee Dennis

Stay fabulous, fierce, and financially savvy bellas.