What to do if Stopped by the Police
Learn What To Do If Stopped By The Police
Police encounters are stressful. Many times, people do not know what to do if stopped by the police. They often say and do all the wrong things when stopped by the police. So, what are the right things to do and say during a police stop? Learn what to do when stopped by the police.
What Are The Right Things To Do During a Police Stop?
Be Polite and Stay Calm
The first thing you must do when stopped by the police is to stay calm. If you remain calm, you will keep your head about you. It is important to be polite to officers. Don’t argue with officers. Do not resist arrest or obstruct an investigation. Even if the police violate your constitutional rights, remain calm and polite. Attorney Matthew Hicks can challenge Constitutional violations in court.
Often times, failing to remain calm and polite may result in your arrest. Many people do not know what to do if stopped by police. Because of their ignorance, they risk arrest. You may hear officers, judges, or attorneys refer to this as “failing the attitude test.” The attitude test refers to giving the proper deference to police officers. If you fail to be polite, an officer may use his authority to escalate the situation into an arrest. It is not illegal to be rude to cops. But failing to be polite may result in the officer claiming you resisted a lawful order or worse.
Determine Whether You Are In Custody
Second, you must determine whether the encounter is voluntary or not. Ask the officer if you are free to leave. If the police officer states you are free to leave, then you should probably leave. But, if you fail to leave and voluntarily answer any of the officer’s questions, the District Attorney may use your answers against you in court.
If you are not free to leave, then you are in custody. If you are in custody, you should remain silent. Moreover, you should ask for an attorney before giving any statements to the police. Call Attorney Matthew Hicks 24 hours a day at 714-361-4191. Learn more about how to properly invoke your right to remain silent and to an attorney here.
Do Not Consent To A Search Request
Third, remember that police officers generally need search warrants to conduct searches. But, officers do not need a warrant under certain circumstances. One circumstance is consent. A police officer does not need a search warrant if you consent to the search. Often times, because people do not know what to do if stopped by police, they consent to a search which results in their arrest. So, it is often in your best interest not to give your consent. Even if you have nothing to hide, the constitution guarantees your right to be free from unreasonable searches.
Moreover, if an officer believes you are armed, they may pat you down over your clothing without a search warrant. Once again, remain calm and polite. A police officer may violate your rights and conduct an illegal search. It is better to remain polite and not elevate your risk of arrest during a police stop. An illegal search is challengeable in court. If successfully challenged, the District Attorney cannot use the illegal search against you. This is why it is important to hire an attorney.
What Are The Right Things To Say During a Police Stop?
Only Answer Questions Regarding Your Identity
What are the right things during a police stop? Well this depends on the situation. A good rule of thumb is you must answer identifying questions. This is true regardless of whether the officer told you that you are free to leave or are in custody. Identifying questions include; your name, date of birth, address, license, registration, etc. Do not refuse to answer identifying questions. Furthermore, do not lie about your identity. The court can use your lies against you.
Do Not Answer Evidentiary Questions
But, you should think twice before answering any evidentiary questions. Evidentiary questions include questions such as “how many drinks have you had tonight?”, “are you coming from a bar?”, “how fast were you going?”, etc.
If confronted with an evidentiary question, stay calm and polite. Simply answer these evidentiary questions by stating “I respectfully decline to answer your question.” If the officer indicated you were free to leave, at this point simply leave. Because you are free to leave, the encounter is voluntary and therefore any statement you make is voluntary. The District Attorney can use statements you made in court if later charged with a crime.
But, if the officer indicated you were not free to leave, invoke your Miranda Rights. Read here to learn how to invoke your Miranda Rights. The officer must read your Miranda Rights if you are in custody prior to questioning you. Remember, if the officer stated you are not free to leave, then you are in custody. The Officer must then read you your Miranda Rights.
Learn What To Do If Stopped By The Police Check List
You must remember what to do if stopped by the police. If you do, you will better protect yourself.
- Stay Calm, Be Polite: Don’t let the police escalate the situation.
- Determine Whether you are in Custody: If you are not in custody, leave. If you are in custody invoke your Miranda Rights.
- Do not Consent to Search. Even if you do not consent to search and the police search anyways, do not stop them. Illegal searches are challengeable in court.
- Answer Identifying questions. Do not lie about who you are.
- Do not answer evidentiary questions. Instead, if out of custody, respond “I respectfully decline to answer your question.” If in custody invoke your miranda rights by stating, “I invoke my right to an attorney, I invoke my right to remain silent.”