Many of my clients are terrified for obvious reasons when they are contacted by the Police and then often try to “talk their way out” of the situation. My objective in writing this blog post is to give some quick advice on what to do if you are the subject of a police investigation or a road side stop. Often, the Police have no case they can prove against you, only suspicion and conjecture which is not going to make a case stick in Court. They use manipulation, scare tactics and coercive methods to induce you to talk and give them admissions which will give them a solid case out of nothing. DO NOT fall for this trick. I am going to give you 3 easy to remember and simple rules to follow when dealing with the police that will help you avoid letting your own mouth seal the case against you. After 27 years of criminal defense I can’t count how many times I have been contacted by someone who is the subject of a police investigation and after I told the police that my client would not cooperate that was the last thing we ever heard about that case. The reason is because the police never had enough evidence to file for a warrant and were just hoping to bring my client in and get them to make an admission.
Rule #1 – I will not answer any questions. I want to speak to my lawyer.
Always remember rule #1 – when ever you are confronted by the police no matter what they threaten you with always tell them you want to speak with a lawyer and that you refuse to answer any questions. Of course you must give them your name and address and ID but that is the end of the conversation. The 5th amendment provides that no person in a criminal case shall be complelled to be a witness against themselves. This is a very powerful right. USE IT! You have the right to have a lawyer present before you answer any questions (of course we are not going to answer any questions when I get there either). The police will normally get really stressed out and say stuff like “we can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way” when you assert the 5th amendment. That’s right its going to be hard for the police because you are going to keep your mouth shut and not say anything until you speak with your lawyer first. I don’t care if the police threaten to tow your car, raise your bond higher, go harder on you, take away your phone, etc. it does not matter. No matter what they say do not answer any questions. Just keep saying I want to speak to a lawyer.
Rule #2 – I do not consent to searches
NEVER ever agree to a search of your home, bookbag, car or workplace. Always refuse any search. If you agree to a search then what ever they find can be used against you. If you refuse to consent to any search then we MAY be able to fight to have the evidence they gather suppressed at a later date. For this reason never ever agree or consent to a search. Simply say I DO NOT cosent to any search of my property and I want to speak to a lawyer.
Rule #3 – “Am I being detained or am I at liberty?”
If you are ever dealing with the police under any situation, be it during a road stop or at your front door always ask them “Am I being detained or am I at liberty?” If they say you are not being detained at this time – then tell them you are going to leave now and to have a great day and get away from them as quickly as you can. Do not stick around and answer their questions. If you are being detained then go back and read rule #1 and 2. Do not answer any questions, do not consent to any searches and ask to speak to a lawyer.
The police are not your friends. They are trying to arrest you. As much as I love to take on new clients and defend them in Court by best work is called prevention. There have been hundreds of people who have retained my services over the last 27 years who were smart enough to call me FIRST before they spoke with the police. In many of those cases the police did not have enough evidence to secure an arrest warrant, they only had suspicions and conjecture. Their plan was to “talk to” my client and coerce them into making an incriminating statement or confession which would seal the deal. My policy is to never cooperate with the police expect under some very limited circumstances which are beyond the scope of this short blog. If you are the subject of a criminal investigation and you want to review your situation please contact me for a free consultation to review your constitutional rights and the best approach to take to defend against a police investigation.
I am available 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 203.357.5555 to render assistance.
If you are reading this and it is too late because you have already been charged with a crime don’t feel bad. 90% of our clients make the same mistake and try to cooperate with the police in the hope that things will go better for them. Sadly, they soon learn that the police are not our friends and cooperating with them does not get you out of trouble – on the contrary – cooperating with the police often gets you into trouble. So follow the rules, know your rights and if you are contacted by the police – lawyer up before you say anything.