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Tips On How To Deal With Police Officers

Posted by Alex K. Kriksciun | May 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

I've obviously been slacking in my blog posts.  I wanted to expand on the previous post I made about what to do when you are stopped by police officers.   Here, I will offer some suggestions on how to treat, address, and otherwise “deal with” police officers.

Please note that this list is not intended to provide legal advice.  I am merely offering suggestions on how to best interact with police officers in a manner that will not antagonize them or sacrifice your legal rights.

  1. If you get “lit up” by a cop, make sure you pull over immediately.  You certainly do not want to pick up a flight or even an aggravated flight charge because the police officer that is trying to pull you over perceives that you are trying to flee.

  2. There is nothing wrong with asking a police officer why he or she pulled you over in the first place.  Often, they will do this for you by asking “do you know why I pulled you over,” or something to that effect.  If not, this information can be very important to know.

  3. Obviously, do not get nasty, rude, or otherwise disrespectful with law enforcement.  As should have been made pellucidly clear from my previous posts, I generally have a healthy distrust of law enforcement, and as far as I am concerned the distrust of law enforcement in the New Orleans area is completely justified.  But you must remember: law enforcement officers are people too.   The vast (and I do mean the VAST) majority of cops are good people working a pretty tough job.  The simple truth is that if you treat a law enforcement officer with respect and dignity, they are more likely to do the same to you.  If you treat a law enforcement officer like shit, you should expect to see the same.

  4. There are several things that make cops extremely nervous.  Chief among these is persons making unseen movements with their hands while the cop approaches a vehicle he or she has just pulled over.  Even though you may simply be looking for your registration or license, cops ALWAYS infer that you are doing some illegal.  I cannot tell you how many times I have read police reports that mention “furtive movements” by vehicle occupants as justification to investigate the vehicle further.

  5. Address the officer as “sir” or “ma'am.”  Cops really, really like this.  I'm not really sure why, but I would think it makes them feel like they are in control or have power over the situation.  Personally, I don't get this.  If somebody calls me “sir,” it makes me feel old as shit, but that's just me.

  6. If you don't have a license, proof of insurance, or registration, (or any combination of the three) it's probably best to tell the officer right away if you know.  Believe me, a cop is not going to want to wait for you to rifle through your glove box or center console to look for that stuff.  Now, if you really aren't sure if you have those documents and you want to look for them that's one thing.  But if you know you don't have them, wasting the cop's time looking though all the crap in your car isn't going to do you any good.

  7. If you are issued a traffic citation, do not refuse to sign it.  It just pisses off the cop and provides you with absolutely no legal benefit.  Suck it up, take your medicine, and carry on with your day.

  8. If you feel you have been mistreated, there is nothing wrong with asking for a police officer's badge number.  Many cops will not particularly like that request, but it is something they should be expected to provide without issue.  Also, some local jurisdictions make it easy to see the badge number without your having to ask in the first place.

  9. There is also nothing wrong with refusing consent to search your car or house.  You may think, “well I have nothing to hide, what's the big deal?”  I have had numerous cases where clients  gave police consent to search under the mistaken belief that they had nothing to hide, only to be arrested when said search turned up contraband.  We have a Fourth Amendment for a reason.  If a cop asks you permission to search your car or vehicle, you can always go tell them to get a warrant if they believe they have probable cause.

  10. If you are detained or placed under arrest, there is nothing wrong with asking the officer why you are being detained or placed under arrest.  Many times, the reason is obvious (say, if you get pulled over with a key of coke in plain view on your passenger seat), but sometimes it is not.

  11. Most importantly, you are NEVER under ANY obligation to answer a police officer's questions.  This applies both BEFORE and AFTER the so-called “Miranda warnings” are issued.  It almost never helps for you to share anything with a police officer.  In almost every situation, those words can be used against you in court and they will be distorted to the point where you will wonder how you said what is being claimed.

  12. Whatever you do, DON'T RUN FOR IT!  I don't care what the funny picture above suggests.  It's not worth it.

Anyways, I hope this helps.  Be safe out there, people!  And if you have a criminal matter in the New Orleans area that needs attention, contact the Law Office of Alex Kriksciun today.

About the Author

Alex K. Kriksciun

Attorney at Law/Notary Public Alex K. Kriksciun has devoted most of his legal career to defending the rights of people accused of crimes and the rights of people harmed by the negligence of others.  Whether the case involves a municipal citation, a life imprisonment without parole case, a wrongf...

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