Knowing exactly how to deal with the police is more important than ever. Your behavior and conduct during that moment can significantly affect how your case is handled.
Although police misconduct does happen, the number-one thing you should do is comply with any orders given by law enforcement. Keep yourself and everyone around you safe.
By remaining knowledgeable of your rights and exercising them, you can deal with the police safely without incriminating yourself.
Here’s some guidance from experienced criminal defense attorney W. Scott Rose.
Dealing with the Police
It’s a police officer’s job to note suspicious behavior and watch for things that may be incriminating. If they observe something that seems off, dangerous, or violates the law, their duty is to investigate.
Whether you’ve been wrongfully accused or made a mistake, how you deal with the police can be a detriment to your future. Don’t allow the situation to escalate.
Following these tips will help get you through the process.
1. Manage Your Emotions
It’s understandable to feel panicked or stressed when dealing with the police, no matter the reason.
Begin by being polite. Set the stage for a calm and professional interaction. If you are asked to make statements that could be self-incriminating, you can respectfully decline those citing your Miranda rights if necessary.
Not every officer is pleasant. But, for the most part, they are fair and courteous as long as you are respectful towards them. Addressing officers with a formal “sir” or “ma’am” or getting in a “please” or “thank you” can sometimes go a long way.
2. Don’t Make Sudden Movements (Keep Your Hands in Sight)
The last thing you want is for the police to feel threatened or for the situation to escalate any further. Don’t try to flee. Fleeing is dangerous for you and others and can be used against you as evidence, citing a “consciousness of guilt.”
Remain calm and collected, and keep your hands where the police can see them. Keep your hands on the steering wheel if you were pulled over in a vehicle.
Be aware of how your body language can be perceived. For example, if you’ve got to reach into your pocket or glove compartment, make your intentions known and ask for permission before reaching.
Officers are trained to react quickly and restrain/diffuse individuals before they become a threat to anyone’s safety.
3. Limit Information and Remember Your Rights
To avoid potentially incriminating yourself, limiting the amount of information you share with the police is best.
But if you’re concerned that your responses to questions may be self-incriminating, you can “plead the fifth,” invoking your Fifth Amendment rights. You can even do so by simply saying, “I decline to answer any more questions.”
The only questions you must answer are basic pedigree information—such as your name and date of birth—which the police can obtain from your identification.
4. Don’t Argue With Officers
Remember, now is not the right time to begin defending yourself. Leave that to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Arguing with an officer will only add fuel to an already heated situation.
You have the right to be silent; use it. Never physically resist an officer.
For your safety, do NOT argue with the officers. Follow any orders that are given.
If you believe police misconduct is happening, the best thing to do is continue to follow orders until the encounter is over, and you can contact your lawyer.
5. Document Information From the Encounter
Throughout your encounter with law enforcement, take note of the interaction. Once you can, document the information for your lawyer.
This includes where you were, why you were stopped, and how much you drank (if anything).
Record important information, like the names of any officers or witnesses present and how you were treated during the encounter. Writing down all this information can be a HUGE asset for your defense team.
Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible
If you’re concerned about dealing with the police or in need of a solid defense to protect your rights and freedoms, seek legal guidance immediately.
Get started with a free consultation from Rose Legal Services so that you can fully understand all your options entering into the legal process and begin making the best steps moving forward.
Don’t make the mistake of dealing with the police alone. Criminal charges can have consequences that affect your life and livelihood for years to come.
Get started on the right path as soon as possible—Rose Legal Services is here for your immediate and effective legal representation.