Being stopped by or pulled over by law enforcement is an anxious situation for anybody – and one that drastically raises our blood pressure. Even if you are sure that there is no reason an escalated incident could occur, like being charged and arrested, you never how a police interaction is going to end.
If you are stopped or questioned, it’s important to remain as quiet as possible. Silence is often our best friend when speaking to law enforcement. Only provide pertinent information when asked, like your name or driver’s license and registration. If you do end up getting arrested, there are some specific actions you should and should not follow. Some will help your cause, and others will hurt your chances of being released.
if arrested, refrain from the following actions:
- Do not resist. Matters will only go from bad to worse. If you were wrongly accused or your rights were infringed, let your attorney handle it after the fact.
- Do not provide any information other than your basic identifiers (name, address, date of birth, race).
- Do not provide any reasons, stories or excuses for the crime that the police accused of.
- Do not talk about your case on the phone, unless you are speaking to your attorney. The police can record your calls unless you are speaking to your attorney.
- Don’t make any legal decisions without discussing it with your attorney.
- If you are are not a legal citizen, or are in the process of obtaining citizenship, do not mention anything regarding your citizenship or immigration status.
- If you are a legal citizen, do not discuss citizenship status or immigration process as you could indict someone else, and it goes against your right to remain silent.
If arrested, do the following:
- Do provide law enforcement your necessary information.
- Do say, and if necessary, repeat your desires to “remain silent” and “speak to your attorney.”
- Do take advantage of your right to three phone calls. Call the right people, like your attorney, possibly someone who could help your make bail or someone who could take care of your children, if applicable.
- Do remember that you have the right to representation. If you cannot afford an attorney, one must be provided to you free of charge.