A Common Sense Approach to Dealing with the Police

According to the Washington Post, there have been over 600 people shot and killed by the police in the U.S. this year as of mid-August. This is obviously the extreme of what a bad encounter with police can do to you, but even a more benign result like being arrested can have a negative impact on your life.

Here are some common sense tips on dealing with a police officer that approaches or stops you:

Be nice. If you’re stopped by police, you need to realize that they are in charge. Be polite when speaking with the officer. If you are rude or start swearing, you increase the odds that the outcome for you will not be a good one.

Tell the truth. Lying to the police is a chargeable offense, so either tell the truth or politely decline to speak with the officer and ask for an attorney. Remember that you do have the right not to incriminate yourself, so if you’ve got something to hide, definitely ask for a lawyer!

Stay in the car. If you’re pulled over, don’t get out of your car. Stay seated with both hands on the wheel. If it’s dark, turn on the interior lights of your car so the officer can see you clearly. Cops have to deal with lots of craziness so will always approach a car expecting the worse. Don’t get them a reason to suspect you.

Don’t admit guilt. Never admit guilt or volunteer more information in hopes that it may get you out of a citation or arrest. Guilt is for juries to decide, not police officers. Lawyer up and protect your rights.

Don’t admit an officer into your home without a search warrant. If a law enforcement officer knocks on the door, speak to him or her through the door or step outside. Unless they have a search warrant, they are not allowed to go into your house unless they believe you or someone else is in imminent danger.

Don’t resist arrest. If a police officer has made the decision to arrest you, resisting that arrest only gets you into deeper trouble. Not only could you face additional serious charges, you could be tased or shot.

Ask for a lawyer. Once you have identified yourself, you do not have to answer any more questions or say anything else. All you should do is ask for an attorney. Never speak with police without your lawyer present. Law enforcement investigators are highly trained to extract information, and they can lie and mislead you to get the information they want.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a full service criminal litigation and appellate law firm. We provide client-focused representation at all stages of the process, whether our clients are seeking to avoid charges, have been charged, or are seeking reversal of a conviction on appeal. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or dan@cogdell-law.com.