5 Steps to Follow When Stopped by Police
Avoid Further Trouble at All Costs
Whether it’s your first time getting stopped by the police or not, interacting with them can be intimidating. Their presence alone is enough to provoke anxiety in some people, but when they stop you because they’re suspicious of your actions, your conduct could make or break you.
One wrong move could cost you your freedom, or even your life. It doesn’t matter if you committed an alleged crime or not, you could potentially self-incriminate yourself. This is why you must be extremely cautious when talking to the police.
5 Steps for a Better Chance of Success
You have the power to escalate your situation and make matters worse or follow these five steps below to best prevent a messy situation. The following information serves as a basic guideline to help you navigate your encounter with the police.
- Stay Calm: It’s in your bests interests to be conscious of your body language, words, attitude and mannerisms when engaging with the police. Be respectful and as relaxed as possible so the officer doesn’t have a reason to be suspicious of you. Even if they give you every reason to argue and scream in frustration, you have too much to lose to let your emotions get the best of you.
- Keep Your Hands Where the Officer Can See Them: Unfortunately, a lot of innocent people die at the hands of police officers who believe they have a weapon and intend to fire it. In many cases, the suspect doesn’t have a weapon at all: They were simply grabbing their wallet or another non-violent object. Thus, you should always keep your hands in an officer’s plain view otherwise they may panic and point their firearm at you as a warning. If you continue to disobey their orders to keep your hands where they can see them, you may lose your life. Further, if an officer asks for your driver’s license and it’s not in plain view, tell them where it is located before reaching for your license. They may instruct you to retrieve your license in a different way than you would have had you not told them where it’s located.
- Don’t Resist: Resisting arrest ends poorly more times than not. Even if a police officer tries to detain you roughly or violently when you peacefully complied with their orders, do not resist. If you do, your actions can be used as evidence against you. Even worse, you may not walk out of the situation alive. We understand that getting handcuffed is a humiliating and uncomfortable matter, and police officers don’t always apply them gently. But we urge you to think about the bigger picture: Your future, freedom and family. They need you. Thus, do not resist arrest.
- Document the Police Officer’s Information: Try to remember the arresting officer’s name, badge number, patrol car number, and physical description. In the event that evidence gets “lost” or “destroyed,” or your attorney needs more information when building your case, it can be easier to get a hold of the arresting officer if you remember their identifiable information.
- Don’t Make Any Statements: As stated in your Miranda Rights, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. That’s why you shouldn’t give any information or statements to an officer, even if they reassure you that you won’t get in trouble. Remember, their job is to figure out who committed a crime and punish that person accordingly, so if you engage with them, you could get in deeper trouble. You have the right to remain silent and get representation from a lawyer before making any statements. If an officer is persistent and pressures you to answer their questions, hold your ground and tell them you will answer their questions with an attorney present.
Helping Clients Navigate Troubling Times
These are key steps you must follow to best prevent your situation from getting worse. Our defense lawyers are specialists in criminal law and are certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as criminal trial attorneys. Further, both of our attorneys served as former prosecutors, meaning we know how the law can work against you and strive to mitigate your legal matters as efficiently as possible.
From our extensive experience as criminal defense specialists, we know the ins and outs of the justice system. As such, we understand that your initial encounter with the police is more important than you might think and urge you to follow the five steps above to alleviate your situation.
Following your arrest, contact Brickfield & Donahue at (201) 574-7919for a free consultation!