Burning Man is a remote and freewheeling place, but be aware that numerous law enforcement agencies patrol Black Rock City day and night. Some law enforcement officers conduct surveillance undercover or in costume, and any illegal action witnessed by law enforcement can lead to a citation or your arrest. 

Your best protection on the playa is to obey the law. And always know your rights.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

General Rights and Responsibilities When Dealing With The Police

Your Rights

  • You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
  • You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself or your car.
  • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
  • You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.
  • Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status these constitutional rights apply to you.

Your Responsibilities

  • Stay calm and be polite.
  • Give your name if asked to identify yourself.
  • Do not interfere with or obstruct the police.
  • Do not lie or give false documents.
  • Remember the details of the encounter, like badge numbers and officer names.

Rights During a Traffic Stop

If you are pulled over by the police while driving

  • Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible. Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way and place your hands on the wheel where the police can see them.
  • If asked, you must show your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
  • Officers can also ask you to step outside of the car, and they may separate passengers and drivers from each other to question them and compare their answers, but no one has to answer any questions.
  • Absent additional reasonable suspicion of a crime, the police may not detain you longer than necessary to conduct a routine traffic stop and write a ticket.

Car Searches During a Traffic Stop:

  • The police cannot search the inside of your car unless:
  1. You give them your consent, which you do not have to give; or
  2. They have "probable cause" to believe (i.e., knowledge of facts sufficient to support a reasonable belief) that criminal activity is likely taking place, that you have been involved in a crime, or that you have evidence of a crime in your car.
  • If you do not want your car searched, clearly state that you do not consent. The officer cannot use your refusal to give consent as a basis for doing a search. 
  • A police officer can utilize a drug-sniffing dog on the outside of your car without your consent, however they may not prolong the traffic stop for the purposes of waiting for the drug-sniffing dog.

Cannabis: Things to Know

  • Marijuana is still illegal under federal law and any federal restrictions and regulations can be enforced in Nevada.
  • It is illegal to consume marijuana in public. This includes, but is not limited to, restaurants, parks, coffee shops, and bars.
  • Nevada forbids consuming marijuana while in a moving vehicle, even if you are not the one driving the vehicle. However, you may legally walk/drive with marijuana in your possession.
  • You can only purchase marijuana from a licensed retailer
  • It is against the law to cross into Nevada with marijuana purchased in another state.
  • Just like with alcohol, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana and you can receive a DUI if driving high.

Sample Script For How To Speak To Law Enforcement:

Officer, my name is [give your real name].

  • Am I free to go?
  • If I am not free to go, can you please explain to me your probable cause for stopping me?
  • I politely refuse to give you any further information. I would like to remain silent.
  • I do not consent to a search of me or my belongings, tent, vehicle, or camp

Remember, every law enforcement interaction is different and you should take the steps that you feel are best for your own safety and security in that moment.

This information is NOT intended as legal advice.    

INTERACTIONS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT

The ACLU of Nevada collects details about interactions with law enforcement at Burning Man to identify potential problems and establish possible patterns of behavior.

You can send the ACLU of Nevada information about your interactions with law enforcement here: Interactions with Law Enforcement at Burning Man.

 

Burning Man Know Your Rights

PDF iconBurning Man Know Your Rights flier (2018)

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