Most people never have contact with the police, at least as a defendant or as the target of an investigation. Most people think “Oh that will never happen to me.” Guess what? It happens all the time.
It doesn’t take much for law enforcement to start looking at you as part of an investigation and before you know it, you have a business card stuck in your front door with a note from a detective or a police officer asking you to call them.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? The following are some tips on what to do and what not do if you are questioned – or more importantly, arrested – by the police.
- ALWAYS comply with the orders from police officers. You may not agree with them, but you are required to do so. One of the problems you can run into by not complying is to give the police a reason to arrest you. Once you are arrested, their ability to search you, your belongings and the area around you increases, and that is never good for you.
2. At the very beginning of any contact with the police, tell them you want to speak to an attorney. Why?
- There is nothing you are going to say that will allow you to “talk your way out” of being charged.
- Cooperating will not result in your charges being dismissed.
- The only thing you will do by answering questions is incriminate yourself and do damage that cannot be undone later. Remember, everything you say can and WILL be used against you later.
- Despite what you are told, a lawyer is better prepared than you are to help you.
- Although it’s hard to believe, the police can lie or stretch the truth to get you to incriminate yourself or even confess. And they often do.
3. Don’t ever consent to a search of your car, house, person, cell phone, computer or anything else. With limited exceptions, the police are required to obtain a warrant to search these areas and items, oftentimes, even to draw samples of your blood or other bodily fluids and/or tissue for DNA testing.
4. If you find out a warrant is outstanding for your arrest, CALL A LAWYER! In some instances, a lawyer can help you avoid being locked up. Lawyers know the best time to deal with turning yourself in so you don’t get stuck in jail waiting for the judge to set bond. It is also a good idea to line up people you know who can help put together cash and have it ready to post bond when it is set. Getting out on bond is important, because it is much more effective for you and your lawyer to meet outside of jail than in jail.
These are just a few of the things you should remember if approached by the police. No one in the court system – not the police, not the prosecutor or anyone else – is looking out for YOUR interests. The only ally you have when dealing with the police is your lawyer. Our job is to do everything in our power to protect your rights and interests. It’s what we do.
I want to be clear that none of this is intended to disrespect police: They have a job to do. But an attorney also has a job to do. It’s critical for you to know that asking for an attorney does NOT implicate you, and in no way is it an admission of guilt. My job as your attorney is to protect you and your constitutional rights, and I can only do that if you call me.
Please feel free to give me a call at 859-255-0050 if you have questions about any of this. I will be happy to talk with you. And, if you are arrested – day or night – call my cell phone at 859-270-1255 – I will answer!