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Talking To The Police – How & When To Talk To Them

We regularly hear from clients who have been stopped by the police for one reason or another and get themselves into trouble because they didn’t know how to talk to the police

or when to stop talking to them. So, in this week’s blog we’ve decided to give you some tips for how and when you should talk to the police to avoid getting into unnecessary trouble down the road.

  1. Be respectful – The old statement that you attract more flies with honey than vinegar is true with the police officers. If you’ve been stopped, be careful of how you interact with them. If you are driving and are asked for your license and registration, promptly provide it to the officer. But, beyond that basic level of respect you do not have an obligation to speak with the police officer.
  1. Ask if you are being detained – If a police officer stops you, we encourage you to inform the police officer that you do not have time to speak with them and then promptly ask if you are free to go. If you are not under arrest or being detained, you do not have to stay with the police officer beyond the initial questioning.
  1. Be quiet – If the police officer chooses to arrest you, you need to tell the officer that you would like to speak with an attorney and are invoking your right to silence. Until you tell the police officer that you would like to invoke yourright to remain silent they can continue asking you questions. Once you verbally invoke that right and ask to speak with an attorney, they must stop all questioning until your attorney arrives.The right to remain silent also applies to your passengers if you are in a car. If you are pulled overwith passengers in your vehicle, remind them to remain silent and invoke their right to remain silent if questioned by the police officer.
  1. Do not consent – If a police officer stops and asks for your permission to conduct a search of your person, your car, your motorcycle, home or other personal property; politely andcalmly inform the officer that you do no consent to the search. If they didn’t need your consent

    they would simply conduct the search without asking. By cooperating you are only increasing the likelihood that they will find a reason to arrest and charge you with a crime.

Those are our four basic tips for how and when to talk to the police. Do you have any other tips for how to handle being stopped by a police officer? Please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions in the comment box below.

It Isn’t Illegal to Be Drunk in Public in Arizona

So let’s say that you’ve spent a couple of hours in downtown phoenix having a drink or two with your friends and you are waiting for your buddy to come out of the bar after paying the tab and you are excited because it is Friday and you are feeling a little bit like our friend Homer here. (http://youtu.be/Fehnc8u6Yts)

Most of us would worry that if a police officer happened upon you in this state, or even in a less intoxicated state, that you would need to act sober really quickly or they might arrest you for being drunk in public. But what you may be surprised to learn is that it isn’t actually illegal to be drunk in public in Arizona.

In fact, the Arizona Court of Appeals recently threw out a case against a Scottsdale man, Mr. Cole, who was arrested for being drunk in public (“incapacitated by alcohol in public”) in 2011. Thirty years earlier, the city of Scottsdale had enacted an ordinance making it illegal to be drunk in public if you were a danger to yourself or others and the police used this ordinance as the justification for arresting Mr. Cole.

What the city of Scottsdale apparently forgot was that in 1972 Arizona decided to treat public drunkenness as the symptom alcohol addiction and removed the criminal penalties that were previously associated with public drunkenness. While a person can be arrested and charged for crimes they commit while intoxicated, the intoxication itself cannot be treated as a crime.

So, if Mr. Cole was urinating in public or vandalizing property while intoxicated they could have arrested him and charged him with urinating in public but he

could not be charged with being drunk in public. That was a point the city of Scottsdale apparently forgot when they passed and enforced the old ordinance. Luckily, Mr. Cole had a smart attorney on his side who realized the local ordinance could be challenged and did so successfully, helping not only Mr. Cole but anyone in Arizona who might drink a little too much and decide to walk home.

If you are facing charges related to public intoxication or other activity that occurred while you were intoxicated, you should speak to an attorney immediately. With the decision in the Cole case we may be able to help you fight the charges you are facing here in Phoenix.

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