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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.