When you’re talking to a police officer or a suspected police officer, you need to keep yourself legally safe. To do this, you need to know what your legal rights are, and which myths about cops are true. Here’s what you need to know about speaking to the cops.
Conversations With Police Officers
Your conversation with a police officer will vary depending on the circumstances. Generally, there are three situations when you’ll speak to a cop:
- General conversations
If there’s a crime or investigation, police officers may question nearby citizens. You have no legal obligation to respond to their questions, and may politely decline. Lying, however, is considered obstruction of justice.
- You’re detained
You’re considered detained when a police officer has shown enough authority that you are no longer clear to leave. This could occur if you’re pulled over, or if an officer asks you to stop walking. At this point, you still have the option of silence. You should avoid moving on until given express consent to leave.
- You’re under arrest
Arrests are when you’re held against your will. This means being handcuffed or brought to the station. It deprives you of your right to move around freely, but your right of silence remains.
In these situations, the safest thing you can legally say is something along these lines: “I wish to invoke my right of silence. I want to talk to my lawyer.” At this point, police officers will be required by law to stop. If they don’t, repeat your phrase politely until they stop.
The Myth That Cops Can’t Lie
The biggest reason to invoke your right of silence is because cops can legally lie. The fact that they must answer ‘are you a cop’ truthfully is a myth. It it was true, undercover operations would be pointless.
Cops can claim they have evidence, witnesses, or confessions that they actually don’t have. If you find yourself in this situation, just repeat that you wish to remain silent and speak to your lawyer. It’s your best legal defense.
By law, entrapment occurs when an officer uses overbearing coercion to incriminate you. This means using tactics that would cause most people to plead guilty, regardless of if they’re guilty or not. Specific entrapment laws vary by state.
Will Cops Charge You If You’re Uncooperative?
Another common myth is that a police officer will charge you if you decline to speak with them. Actually, police officers aren’t able to make any charges against you. They’re only able to make recommendations. The prosecutor is the person who’s able to bring charges against you.
This makes it even more important that you don’t give away any unnecessary information. Many criminals end up getting charged because of the evidence they gave away willingly!
Safely Interacting With Police Officers
No matter how brief your conversation with an officer is, you need to know how to safely interact with them. A police officer’s biggest concern is safety. Therefore, your actions should ensure that they feel completely at ease. An officer who is nervous will be much tougher to deal with.
Here are some tips for safely dealing with cops:
- Keep your hands in view at all times. Don’t place them in your pockets.
- Don’t make any sudden movements. If you need to reach for something, do so slowly.
- Never touch any police equipment - this is threatening. This includes police animals, flashlights, and vehicles.
- Remain calm and collected.
At Bad Boys Bail Bonds Utah, we believe you’re innocent until proven guilty, and we treat you that way. If you do catch yourself on the wrong side of the law, we’re here to assist you with any bail bond needs. For your convenience, we’re open 24/7, 365 days a year.