Are Traffic Cops Your Friend?

Getting pulled over by the police shouldn’t be a big deal, right? That’s what most folks think until they are suddenly, and surprisingly, under intense questioning and unwarranted suspicion.

Of course, everyone is nervous about getting pulled over, but in some cases you may find yourself under suspicion and questioning that seems unreasonable. And unfortunately, if you don’t handle the situation properly you could find yourself being detained, subjected to search and even arrested.

First and foremost you must remember that police officers are NOT your friends. They will look for any and all violations possible and find ways to detain and even arrest you. They will try to intimidate you and use psychological tactics to try and get you to talk. You must understand they are in the business to hand out violations and bust people. It’s their job!

So What Should You Do When Stopped By Police?

First and foremost, NEVER consent to a vehicle search. Many officers will ask offhandedly if they can search the car. People panic, don’t want to raise suspicion, and allow a search. This is a big mistake because they could find something innocent like a beer can under the seat. Even worse, they could find items left in the car by someone else you have NO idea about. Remember, they have no right to search your vehicle unless you are under arrest. Better to just say no.

And secondly, if a cop goes beyond asking for your name and address, it’s best to simply tell them these magic words:

“I choose to remain silent. I want to see my lawyer.”

This wonderfully simple phrase invokes your rights under the law and protects you from further interrogation. Now usually, this won’t stop them. They’ll use all sorts of tactics they’ve learned through training and experience to get you to start talking. And yes, they will lie to you. They may start chattering about all the charges they are going to give you, threaten to take you to jail if you don’t talk, or much worse. These are all scare tactics. They are hoping you break down and give them something so they can detain or even arrest you. Don’t say anything except the magic phrase:

“I choose to remain silent. I want to see my lawyer.”

At this point, they will either give up trying to trick you and send you on your way, or if they actually have a violation, write you a ticket; or worst-case scenario, take you into custody. But remember, the whole point of this exercise is to NOT give them ANY reason to detain you and search your property, or give them additional evidence in case of an arrest. Anything you say to cops can and will be used against you (and your friends) in court.

The golden rule is to NEVER trust a cop. Use the magic phrase and make sure your friends understand this too! Remember, another tactic cops use is to separate everyone and say your friends ratted you out so you’ll start talking. They are hoping someone breaks down so they’ll have enough to arrest everyone.

Protect your rights under the law. Use the magic phrase and you’ll stop over-zealous law enforcement bullies dead in their tracks.

Dean Ryan has been a practicing attorney in Garden City KS for 30 years. He can help defend you with DUI and other traffic charges. Protect your driving record and call (620) 275-9614 for professional help today.