Citizen Tips For Police Stops

At some point in their lives, the vast majority of people will eventually be stopped by the police. Although it can be a frightening and stressful situation, knowledge is power. The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be in the long run.traffic-stop-police

Stopped By Police?

  1. Remain calm. Even if you don’t believe you’ve done anything to warrant being stopped, it will only complicate the situation if you become visibly upset or indignant.
  2. Know your rights. Carry a pocket Constitution with you for reference in case you find yourself in a situation where you believe your rights are being infringed upon.
  3. If possible, record the entire interaction or have someone who’s with you record it. Some law enforcement officers may attempt to stop you from doing so, but despite what the they may tell you, the Supreme Court has ruled that citizens have the right to record officers while they are performing their duties: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/05/25/federal-appeals-court-reaffirms-right-to-videorecord-including-at-traffic-stops/
  4. Be respectful and polite, but do NOT volunteer information. You are not obligated to answer questions about where you’re going or what you’re doing. You may feel that answering questions will be construed as you being helpful and cooperative, but volunteering information can actually be detrimental. When a police officer stops you due to blatant violation of the law or reasonable suspicion that you may be committing a crime, their job is to find evidence to use against you, not vice versa, and words can be misconstrued or twisted.
  5. When an officer approaches you and asks you questions without informing you that you were stopped due to the commission of a crime, ask if you are free to go. If the officer says no, ask if you are being detained. If you are told that you are not being detained, ask again if you are free to go. It has to be one or the other, and if you are not being detained, the officer must allow you to leave.
  6. Do not consent to a search. If the officer asks for permission to search your vehicle, do not agree. They must have probable cause to do so, and if they really do have probable cause, they will be able to obtain warrant. Otherwise, if you voluntarily allow them to conduct a search, they may uncover something that they weren’t necessarily looking for that can somehow be used to incriminate you.
  7. If you have a prepaid legal service, always have the information for your provider law firm handy in case you are detained. If you do not have a pre-arranged legal service and are detained or feel that your constitutional rights have been violated, know how to locate an attorney. The internet is a great source of information. There are services and directories available to assist you in locating an experienced and reputable attorney.

If you live in the Houston area, we recommend attorney Mario R Madrid for your legal representation if you feel you were unfairly stopped, searched, or arrested by police.

For more information about best practices when dealing with police, review the video below.

Don’t Talk To Police

Citizen Tips For Police Stops

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