The Cops Want to Talk To You…Now What?
You have no real idea why he’s standing in front of you, but there he is…a detective with the local police department. He says he wants to “clear up” a few things and you have no way to know why he thinks you have any information to give him. You realize that we need law enforcement and were raised believing that police were the “good guys.”
Let’s be absolutely clear on one point. Police do not, ever, just pay visits to be nice. The cops are looking for information to build a case, whether it is against you or someone you may know, or someone you merely may have observed. You don’t know if someone called the cops to report an incident and if the person the cops are interested in is you. You have no idea of knowing what the cops are after.
Before you chat up the police, think very carefully about saying anything. You must remember that anything that you say to the cops, or anything that you do, can be used against you. Do not argue with the cops. Don’t run from the cops. Don’t touch the cops. You must remember that what you say and do may GIVE the police an excuse to arrest you.
Do not consent to a search of your body or your house or your car. Except in limited circumstances, the police need a search warrant signed by a judge to search your home or car. If the police tell you that they have a warrant, ask to see the warrant.
If you are ultimately arrested, you have a right to know why you are being arrested. Make no statements and ask for your lawyer immediately. You may recite to the police your name and address. Don’t try to explain anything. There is absolutely nothing you are going to do or say that will make this any better for you. The arrest will happen and resign yourself to the fingerprints, mug shot, and maybe even a holding cell. Your defenses belong in court.
Any phone call you make from the police station may be monitored so say as little as possible.
Though the police serve a role in our society, we all have to remember that we have rights and have the right to not be harassed by the police.