Most people don’t know how to react around police officers to receive the best possible outcome for themselves. We either freak out and completely kowtow upon even seeing a cop – especially while driving – or become defensive and argumentative with them. Neither tactic works especially well; the best way to act around a police officer is to show them respect and ask that they do the same for you. This means that you have to know your rights and their legal limits so that they are forced to respect your boundaries. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact an experienced New York criminal defense attorney to better understand how to handle a situation should one come up.
1. Don’t be rude. Yes, it’s annoying and frightening to be stopped by a police officer, but don’t take it out on them. Most cops are good people just doing their jobs. If an officer is on the fence about giving you a ticket – or even worse! – yelling and treating him or her like a jerk is not going to help your situation. They’ll also be more likely to remember your case, and not in a good way, if it comes time for court.
2. Remember that all cops carry guns. Police officers deal with criminals every day. People who do crazy things to avoid getting busted by the law. As a result, they see everyone as a potential threat. Because of this, you need to remain calm and make slow, deliberate, non-threatening movements. You want that cop to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
3. Just stop talking. You don’t have to talk to a cop. Period. They can’t force you to make a statement, and can’t make you answer their questions. This is often in your best interest even if you think what your answer will help your case. Let your New York criminal defense attorney decide what is safe to share or not.
4. Just say no. You can refuse to let police officers search your belongings – including your car and house – and you can always just walk away from them, provided they are not officially detaining you. However, if you are pulled over on a suspicion of a DUI, you do not have right to refuse a breathalyzer test, and even if you have not had any alcohol or drugs and no charges are brought against you, you can still lose your New York driver’s license for up to a year if you refuse.
5. Don’t argue the law. Even if you’re right, arguing about it probably isn’t going to help your case; in fact, it’s more likely that you’ll appear defensive and the officer will become more entrenched in his or her position. If you truly think the cop is wrong in something they do to you, call an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer and get advice.
6. Call your New York lawyer. If at any point during an interaction with a police officer you begin to feel uncomfortable about the way they are treating you or the questions they are asking, calmly inform them that you want to call your New York criminal defense lawyer before this goes any further. This way you aren’t just reaching into your pocket without warning them, and you get it on record that you have requested to talk to your New York criminal attorney in case they illegally refuse to honor your request.
The next time you have to interact with a police officer, keep these tips in mind. If you are a suspect or person of interest in a case, or even if you are just called in for questioning, it is always in your best interest to hire a New York criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. He or she can be present when you are interrogated to ensure your rights are protected. The goal is to prevent you from being charged with a crime in the first place and to avoid giving the police any information they can potentially use against you in court. The earlier you get a New York criminal defense lawyer involved, the better your chances are of having a positive outcome.