What to do When Stopped by Police?
As a defense lawyer I get this question a lot. I also hear a lot of terrible advice given on the subject. The first thing to do is to remain calm. Once you stop being calm it is a lot easier to make bad decisions. The calmer you remain the better off you will be. I know this is easier said then done as having contact with the police is a stressful event for most people.
The second thing you should do is know your rights. In Arizona there are some things you have to provide the officer with like an ID if they ask to see one. There are some things that you don’t have to do. One common example are field sobriety tests when an officer is investigating a possible DUI.
Try to be polite to the officer. This is not always possible but do your best. If you become agitated the officer will also be more likely to be agitated and the situation can escalate. Remember the the officer has a lot discretion with certain types of offenses as far as what you are charged with.
Try to get as much information as you can about why the police are contacting you. It is ok to ask questions when speaking with the police. There are times when the police may not be able to tell you a lot and this is ok. Try to remember everything that happens. Try to write down everything as soon as you can. There is a lot of research on how flawed our memory is so the more you can write down the more beneficial this will be to your defense lawyer. Try to write down things as soon as you can. As you can guess your memory of the encounter with the police will be a lot better after one hour then it will be after two weeks.