If you must interact with police, do so respectfully without compromising your constitutional rights
There may come a time in your life when interacting with the police in an official capacity is something you’re required to do. It might be nothing more than just speaking to them in passing on the street or in a restaurant, but it could be more serious. If you’re involved in a car accident, if you’re pulled over for a traffic violation, or if you witness or are suspected of committing a crime, you’ll find yourself face to face with law enforcement officers.
The best thing you can do in these situations is to enact the golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated AND remain silent. Police officers have every right to experience the same respect you demand from others. However, it’s also important to defend your rights even in a police officer’s presence. Officers reasonably expect you to take advantage of these rights during your interactions, including remaining silent and/or asking for an attorney.
Your Constitutional Rights
As a citizen of the United States, you have certain inalienable rights - or rights which cannot be taken away. The law protects everyone until he or she is proven guilty, which means you are free and capable of enacting your rights when interacting with police officers. These rights include:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures
- The right to ask for an attorney
These are your constitutional rights, and a police officer is required to adhere to your rights in every situation. If you believe your rights are being hindered during an interaction with a police officer, be sure to clearly state so.
Treat Officers with Respect
If you begin an interaction with police being brazen, defensive and rude, you might find the police respond to you in the same manner. To keep things as clean and comfortable as possible, you can help make your interaction more positive.
Keep your hands visible.
There is never a moment when police officers are comfortable while a suspect’s hands are out of sight. They will ask you to keep them visible, and your job is to do that. If you must retrieve something from a bag, pocket or a console in your vehicle, simply ask the police if you can reach for it. Tell them where you are reaching, what you are looking for and move very slowly.
Understand that you’re being recorded.
Police typically record every interaction with anyone, which is something they can use against you in a court of law. It’s important to handle yourself accordingly for this reason. Do not speak if you have any question or suspicion that you could incriminate yourself. You are much better off waiting to speak to an attorney and have him do your talking for you.
If you or someone you know is in need of legal services in Texas, or if police want to question you, Houston criminal defense attorney Neal Davis is prepared to take on your legal matter. He has successfully prevented charges from being filed in all types of cases, from murder to child pornography to drugs, at the investigation phase. Call us today for a free consultation to see how we can help.