Cars & Other Vehicles
How To Deal With Difficult Police
If you have done nothing wrong, being stopped by the police can be very unnerving.The tension is increased by the power disparity.The police can use force if they reasonably fear for their safety, but the public and other government officials are likely to believe the police version of events.It's important that you remain calm when dealing with police officers.Increased use of police force could be a result of any rebellion.
Step 1: You know your rights.
No matter what the traffic violation is, a police officer can pull you over.You can't be pulled over by police because of your age, race, or type of car.If you believe you have been pulled over for an illegal reason, record your interaction with the police officer.You have the right to record the police.Make sure the cell phone is visible to the police if you place it on your dashboard.Write out everything you remember if you can't record the interaction electronically.
Step 2: Don't move suddenly.
When an officer approaches your car, you should turn on the interior lights so that he can see you.Put your hands on the wheel and wait for the person to reach your window.The officer will not think you are reaching for something.Slowly, make all your movements.The officer is watching to make sure you don't draw a weapon or hide something.Inform the police what you are going to do if you reach for license, registration, and insurance information in your car.Don't put that information in a large bag or folder that is large enough to hold a gun and keep it in an innocuous envelope.Put the car in a safe place if you say, "Officer, may I reach for my yellow envelope that contains my registration and insurance information."Shutting the car off is a good idea.Do not leave your car without getting permission from the police.
Step 3: Answer a few questions.
Open-ended questions are designed to get you to admit something that can be used against you in court.The officer knows why he or she pulled you over.Questions like "Do you know why I pulled you over?" are designed to get you to confess.Silence can make the situation worse.Police can use your silence to find reasonable suspicion.Don't volunteer information if you answer "Yes" or "No"Do you know why you were stopped?Say no.Do you know how fast you were travelling?"Yes."The officer will think you are ignorant of either the speed limit or how fast you were going if you don't answer "No" to this question.If the officer asks if you have a good reason to hurry.Say no.Even if you weren't speeding, the officer will still believe that you were, and you'll get a ticket.Have you been drinking?Say no if you were stopped driving in an erratic manner.Do tell the officer if you take medication or have an illness that can cause driving problems.
Step 4: You should take a breathalyzer test.
You will be asked to take a breathalyzer and participate in a field sobriety test if the officer spots an open container of beer or other alcohol.It is not possible for a police officer to force you to take a breathalyzer test without a search warrant, but it is possible to be convicted of drunk driving if you do not take the test.If the police can get a warrant for your arrest, you can be forced to take the breathalyzer in jail if you refuse the test.If you commit a traffic violation, the officer can get a warrant to make you take a breathalyzer.State law can vary.In some states, refusing a breathalyzer does not constitute a crime.You should always be in contact with an attorney.
Step 5: Obey the officer's directions.
If you don't comply with an officer's request, you will be seen as rebel.The officer believes that he can use force against you.If you are stopped while driving, stay in the vehicle.Getting out of the vehicle is seen as a threat.Do not react in a way that will cause the police officer to arrest you or use force against you, even if the officer is disrespectful to you.
Step 6: Do not conduct a vehicle search.
The officer might ask if he can look at your vehicle.You don't have to agree to a search.There are many reasons why an officer can search a car.If the officer sees any illegal objects in plain view, he or she can search the part of the vehicle that the objects are in and arrest you.If the officer has a right to be there and sees property in plain sight, an object is in a plain view.An officer cannot search the trunk of a car if drugs are not found.Police officers are able to search if they have probable cause, which may include observing occupants in suspicious activities; remarks and things that the officer can smell, see or hear, like safety violations; open containers, and items that could potentially appear to be weapons.
Step 7: Ask for the officer's name and number.
You should always ask for the police officer's name when you are pulled over.If you need to, it will be easier to complain about the officer.Don't increase hostilities if you ask at the end of the encounter.If you don't feel safe asking the officer, you can try to get the license plate number of his car.
Step 8: Do you want to go?
If a police officer pulls you over for an invalid reason or is holding you for no apparent reason, you can ask if you're free to go.If the police officer does not have probable cause to detain you, he or she must let you go.Ask if you can leave.If the officer is difficult, you may have to ask many times.Don't be upset yet firm.If a police officer stops someone and has a suspicion that the person has illegal items in the car, the officer will attempt to hold the individual until a canine unit arrives.The police officer must let you go if he or she has probable cause to hold you.
Step 9: If the arrest is valid, identify it.
Police have wide latitude in a variety of cases, even though it is extremely uncomfortable to be arrested.Police can make an arrest.Police can make an arrest during a traffic stop when they see someone committing a crime.The police officer has probable cause to arrest if they have enough facts to believe the suspect has committed a crime or that the item to be searched bears evidence.If the officer sees drugs in your car when he or she pulls you over, he will have probable cause to arrest you.
Step 10: Go peacefully.
If you are arrested, do not resist.Increased use of force against you will only be justified by doing so.You will have a case against the police if you were illegally arrested.If you resist arrest, the police have the power to use force.You could get killed if you escape.
Step 11: During a search, remain calm.
You can't resist arrest or argue because you are angry.Stay calm during a search.If you are arrested, police can search your body and clothing.Your stuff.They stopped you if you were in the vehicle.
Step 12: Request an attorney.
The police will read your Miranda rights after you are arrested.The right to remain silent, the fact that anything you say can and will be used against you in court, and an attorney present during questioning are included.Asking for an attorney should stop the interrogation.It's not enough to just remain silent.If you refuse to speak, police don't have to assume that you want an attorney.If the police continue to question you, you should ask for an attorney.If police do not give you the Miranda warning, your statements cannot be used against you at trial.If you testify the statements could be used to impeach you.
Step 13: Stay silent.
Don't speak after requesting an attorney.It is part of the privilege against self-incrimination that you have the right to remain silent.Even after reading your Miranda rights, the police can still interact with you, and any voluntary statements you make to them can be used at your trial.Asking about the case could be seen as restarting the interrogation.Limit interactions with police to basic requests for food and water.
Step 14: You should meet with your attorney.
If you can't afford an attorney, you should get a public defender.Let your attorney know what happened during the arrest and what actions the police took.Don't be impatient.It will take months for you to be vindicated in court if you have been wrongly arrested.You have to dig for the long haul.
Step 15: Take pictures of the harassment or encounter.
You should note the times and dates if police are near your house.Write down everything you remember about the arrest.You can use a paper record to seek justice through an internal complaint or a lawsuit.If you were injured in a police encounter, take color photographs of your injuries as soon as possible.
Step 16: Don't have a confrontation.
You should not confront the police if they are following you.If you can see the license plate number, write down the physical description of the police officers.Confronting the police only gives them the opportunity to label you aggressive, which in turn supports their ability to use force.
Step 17: You can find an attorney.
You can file a lawsuit against police officers on a variety of grounds.You could file a lawsuit for excessive force, illegal arrest, or emotional distress.An attorney will listen to your story and advise you on the right course of action.There are attorneys who will work on a contingency fee basis.They don't get paid unless you pay them.You will be responsible for the costs of the litigation, such as filing fees, photocopying and mailing costs, as well as the fee of any expert witness.Costs can go up to several thousand dollars.You need to get an estimate.Call your state's bar association to find an attorney.They will have a referral program.
Step 18: You can file a suit.
You can file a civil suit against the police if you were harassed or abused by them.During the lawsuit, your attorney can ask questions of the officer in a deposition, and request documents from the police department.
Step 19: You can file a report.
If you choose not to file a lawsuit, then you should consider filing a misconduct report.An internal investigation will follow the report of the officer's actions.To get the form, you need to know the city you live in.The search will help you locate the department.If you have a live lawsuit against the police, you should not file a misconduct suit.The report could give you too much information about your lawsuit.If you have been arrested, you shouldn't file a complaint.You can lose your right to remain silent if you file the report.An admission of fault is rare in internal investigations.The report can remain in the officer's file.Make copies of your report and keep them in a safe place.
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