It can be terrifying to be stopped and questioned by an officer. If this ever happens, you need to be prepared. More than likely, you will have a rush of adrenaline and not know the best way to act. The advice below will help you know what to do and what not to do so that you are prepared in any circumstance:
Do NOT give a fake name.
A lot of people panic from merely being nervous. However, this is the easiest way to get yourself in trouble and ultimately arrested for the crime of false reporting. Giving a fake name is just delaying the inevitable. An officer will be able to determine that the name and birthdate given either do not match or are not valid. Be smart and be honest – it will save you extra charges in the long run.
Do NOT consent to be searched.
Whether it is a traffic stop, casual encounter, or some other situation, do not feel obligated to consent just because an officer asks permission to search. You may feel pressured to consent because the assumption is that you are hiding something by not consenting. However, people have a right to their privacy. You can exercise that right by not allowing your space to be invaded merely because an officer asks. Know your rights and exercise them.
Do NOT try to talk your way out.
If an officer is writing you a ticket or placing you under arrest, rarely if ever can you talk your way out of it. An officer has already made the decision based upon the facts he has at the time and will be more than willing to let you talk only to use anything you say against you. Even in a situation that may be a misunderstanding, the best route is to explain your side to your lawyer and let your lawyer fight the battle on your behalf. Anything you say will more often than not be used against you, not for you. Wait to tell your side to your lawyer.
Do NOT answer any questions.
This is similar to the previous point of not talking your way out. In any investigation, there is either enough to charge you with or there is not. What you say will not change if a case is filed, it will merely be used against you in some way. Detectives and police officers are trained and highly skilled in the art of interviewing and interrogations. They have multiple approaches to make you believe they want to help you, when ultimately, they need more information to build their case. SILENCE is your best friend. Again, the only person you should be concerned with telling your side to is your lawyer. Your lawyer is there to advocate on your behalf and represent you.
Most Importantly…ASK FOR A LAWYER.
The State of Indiana has police officers, detectives, prosecutors, investigators, etc. all working against you. Be sure to not tackle the criminal justice system alone. A lawyer that has the knowledge and experience in criminal law can protect your interests and properly advise you from beginning to end. This applies to all types of law, but especially to criminal law where your freedom is at stake. It is your right to be represented by a lawyer. You would not want to do surgery on yourself, so do not defend yourself. Hire a lawyer and if you cannot afford one, ask for one to be appointed to represent you.
If you have more questions or need legal help, don’t hesitate to reach out. You need someone on your side fighting for you. Don’t face criminal charges alone – Bridget Foust is ready to be your advocate in criminal law cases.
Interested? Contact now.