Do you get nervous when the police pull you over or when an officer walks up to you on the street? Most people do. They suddenly start second-guessing everything they’ve done and wondering what they’ve done wrong. They may not have broken the law at all, but they feel inherently concerned about how this encounter is going to go. They want it to go smoothly, and they want to stay safe.
You can work to make that outcome a reality. Here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you are talking to a police officer:
- Make sure you know your rights so that you understand what you are — and are not — legally obligated to do.
- Stay calm at all times, refusing to escalate the situation, even if the officer is aggressive.
- Be respectful. You may know you have done nothing wrong, but you can present that information in a passive, respectful fashion that is more likely to get results than being angry or condescending.
- Make sure they can see your hands at all times. If you need to grab something, like your ID, tell them what you want to do and ask permission so that there is no confusion.
- Don’t make sudden movements. Remember that the police officer may be just as nervous to talk to you as you are to talk to them.
- State your rights clearly when using them. If you do not consent to a search or you choose to stay silent without an attorney present, tell the officer this and repeat it when needed.
These tips can help you stay safe, but you may still get arrested, and you need to understand your legal defense options.