Tips on Talking to Cops
People are stopped by police officers all the time. They could be violating a law, or the officer could pull them over if they suspect something fishy. No matter the case, getting pulled over by an officer can be a scary experience. However, as a responsible citizen of the state, you need to be aware of some of the laws in your state, and also be prepared if you are stopped and questioned by the officer. Read on for some general guidelines on how to deal the situation when stopped by an officer.
First of all, be polite and greet the officer with respect. Stay calm and never question the officer on why you have been stopped and pulled over. Whatever you say to the officer is extremely important, so make sure you stay to the point and do not engage in small talk. If you are rude or aggressive, it will be used against you in court.
You can also appreciate the officer and praise them for the work they do. Wish them a good day and they might just let you go without a ticket. However, make sure you do not get very cheeky with them. Too much appreciation may offend the officer as he might think you are trying to bribe them in some way.
If the officer asks you your name, you must answer it. Although you are not required to answer any other question which the officer may ask you, this is the only exception where you are required to answer the officer. You may be detained if you refuse to give your name. However, if you fear that your name is incriminating, you can claim your right to remain silent by saying the magic words, “I am going to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer.”
Whatever you say to the officer goes “on record.” There is no such thing as “off the record.” Whatever you say is used, or can be used as evidence in court against you. Never argue with the officer and don’t make any sudden jerks or movements. Normally, when an officer stops someone, the driver or individual is required to keep their hands where the officer can see them, such as on the steering wheel.
If the officer instructs you to go to the police station, you can ask them why they want you to go with them. Similarly, if the officer asks you your name and address, you also have the right to ask them their name, rank and police station. If the officer refuses to give you their details, they can be fined. You can even ask for these details in writing if you want to report the officer or complain about them.
If the officer asks too many questions, you can simply ask them if you are being detained. If not, you can simply leave and avoid further engagement. If the officer tells you that you are being detained, you can then ask for your lawyer. Whatever the case, it is advised to get in touch with an attorney to discuss any legal implications that may arise after the stop.
The MacNeil Firm is a Criminal Defense Law Firm with offices in Frankfort, IL and Shorewood, Illinois.