What to Do if a Police Officer Stops You?

I have already blogged about whether police need a reason to pull a driver over.  The answer is—yes.

So, for example, an officer has probable cause to stop a driver.  What that driver should do in this situation?

Generally, being stopped by a police officer is scary no matter what the reason for the stop.  While we all hope that police officers will be fair and just, citizen rights are not always respected.  Specifically, during drug interdiction stops.  However, it is important to avoid doing anything that could risk your safety or your freedom.

General guidelines for dealing with police: always be respectful and watch what you say and what you do.  What you say “can and will be used against you in court” and can give the police an excuse to arrest you.  Do not interfere with a police officer.  Do not argue with a police officer, do not touch a police officer.  Do not run from a police officer.  Do not make any incriminating statements regarding the incident.

It is not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but refusing to answer may make the officer suspicious that an offense was committed.  Police may pat down your clothing if they suspect you of concealing a weapon.  Be clear that you do not consent to any further search.

What to do once you are under arrest or you believe that you are under arrest:

Ask if you are under arrest.  If you are, you have the right to know why.  If you are detained or arrested, you don’t have to answer any questions outside of typical booking questions, such as your name, address, etc.  ASK FOR YOUR ATTORNEY ONCE YOU ARE DETAINED OR ARRESTED.  Do so in a very clear manner.  For example, don’t say: “should I have an attorney for this?” do say: “I want my attorney now.”  If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.  Do not say anything further.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, call Stowers & Sarcone today at (515) 224-7446.  Protect your rights!  Act now!

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