Encountering law enforcement can be a scary ordeal. It can often make innocent people nervous and more likely to self-incriminate.
Even if you’re someone who obeys the law to the best of your ability, it’s likely that at some point you may encounter law enforcement. It’s important to understand how an encounter with police may occur and how it should be handled.
What to do when questioned by police
First and foremost, a law enforcement officer will ask questions. Whether you’ve been pulled over and suspected of drunk driving, or you’re being questioned about a crime that happened in your area, police ask questions to look for incriminating clues that can lead them to a suspect.
Even if you know you are 100 percent innocent, or believe you are helping police, the things you say can be incriminating. Additionally, if you have been accused of a crime you know you didn’t commit, attempting to talk your way out of an arrest can make matters worse.
Luckily, if you’re questioned by police for any reason, you may practice your right to remain silent, even if you are arrested, brought in for interrogation, or issued a subpoena. The only exception that applies is you must provide your name, and/or identification to police when asked for it.
Otherwise, it’s best to calmly tell police that you wish to speak to a lawyer before answering any questions.
What to do when stopped by police
If you are stopped on the street by police, you have the right to walk away or simply ask if you are free to go. If a police officer tells you you’re not free to go, yet you haven’t been arrested, then you are being detained. While this isn’t the same as being arrested, police may pat you down and search for weapons if they suspect that you may be armed.
If you are pulled over in your vehicle, you must keep your hands where police can see them. In addition, you must provide your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance if an officer asks for them. You may be asked to step out of your vehicle, and if you’re with a passenger, you may be separated and questioned. Police are not allowed to search your vehicle unless they have a probable cause that a crime is being committed or you give them consent to do so.
What to do if you’re arrested
If you’re arrested on suspicion of a crime, you are still within your rights to remain silent and request immediate legal representation. After being arrested, you may appear before a judge within roughly 48 hours. That’s why you should consult with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Amanda Webb – DWI Lawyer will launch a thorough investigation and use the details surrounding your arrest to help you build a solid criminal defense.
Don’t wait! Contact us today.