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What Should I Do If I Stopped By the Police?

This is a question that a lot of people, and attorneys, spend a lot of time arguing over. There are books, upon books, about the tactics that you can use to protect yourself. The first thing you have to ask yourself is what are you willing to go through in order to protect yourself and exert all of your constitutional rights. Most people do not realize that simply asserting their rights can lead to some very angry police officers – which is fine….. they can be angry all they want.

Example! You are stopped on suspicion of DUI – most likely the police officers are going to claim you crossed, or touched, a lane line. What do you do?

WHEN STOPPED FOR A DUI BE POLITE! This might sound obvious, but so many people are obnoxiously rude to police officers (even when they might deserve it). So what do you do? Call the cop either “Sir/Ma’am” or “Officer”. Avoid using swear words, or other profanity, because the police officer is very likely recording every word you say and it looks very bad to a judge and jury when every third word starts with F.

KEEP THE WINDOW ROLLED UP. You should avoid rolling the window all the way down, roll it down enough that you would be able to speak with the officer but not enough that he would be able to put his whole hand through it. This accomplishes a few things; first, it keeps the officer from having quick and easy access to the inside of your car – if they can see your illegal objects they can arrest you on the spot. Second, it establishes a barrier between the two of you – personal space so to speak. Third, it reduces his ability to smell the inside of the car (think alcohol, marijuana, drugs).

ASSERT YOUR RIGHTS. Many people have a hard time saying no. Saying no to a cop who is angry that you are asserting your rights is even harder. The police officer will probably threaten to arrest you OR promise to help you – “only if you cooperate this once and tell him you are drunk, or where the drugs are”. Just to be clear the vast majority of police officers have no desire to let you go, they want to find the evidence of the crime they believe you are committing. You need to make a choice here – do you fold and give them the evidence that could lead to a criminal conviction, or do you remain firm and perhaps go to jail for the night? If you give the evidence up – you are going to jail, just to be clear.

BE PREPARED TO CALL A CLEVELAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY. Invoke your right to an attorney, be clear and concise about that. If the cop says “You don’t need no attorney” or “They just cost money” be firm in your request. Of course attorneys cost money, however, the police officer really just wants to keep you at a disadvantage in the matter because you probably are relatively inexperienced in the system. Call us for a free consultation, any time of the day. (440) 709-8088 We serve clients in and around the Cleveland, Ohio area.

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