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Matthew Radefeld & Dan Juengel
Matthew A. Radefeld and Daniel A. Juengel

What not to do during a police encounter

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2023 | Criminal Law |

The police are tasked with enforcing the law and investigating criminal cases. To do so, they have a number of powers at their disposal. For instance, they can stop individuals for questioning, carry out searches and make arrests. However, they cannot use these powers at random or unjustifiably.

Encounters with law enforcement can be intimidating, particularly if you have been accused of committing criminal acts. Let’s look at two things you should not do during a police encounter.

Incriminate yourself

If you’re innocent, chances are you’ll want to plead your case to the officers. The reality is that once you’ve been identified as a suspect, there’s not much chance of you talking yourself out of the situation. In fact, you could end up talking yourself into more trouble.

It’s important to understand and assert your constitutional right to freedom from self-incrimination. You’re not obligated to tell officers anything other than your name when questioned. Your right to remain silent is protected by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Flee the scene

If you’ve been surrounded by flashing lights and officers are telling you to stay where you are, it may be tempting to try to get out of there. However, fleeing the scene is never advisable, nor is resisting arrest. These are separate criminal offenses, and you may still face charges even if it turns out you did not commit the initial offense in question.

During a police encounter, you’ll generally want to say as little as possible until you have legal guidance behind you.