A few tips to remember if by chance you see a police officer take out the handcuffs and you’re sure they’ll be going around your wrists any second.
- Stop talking. While it’s true that your statements are generally inadmissible until the officer reads you your Miranda warning, it still doesn’t make sense to give the police any more information than necessary. Wait to talk to your criminal lawyer. Adrenaline will be pumping through your system, and many people get very “chatty” because that is their natural response to fear. Take a deep breath, remember this is the time to be quiet. Miranda are those magic words which say “anything you say can and will be used against you…”. Once you hear that phrase it’s really time to be silent and ask for your lawyer. This doesn’t mean you can’t ask a question (“can I call someone to come get my car”, “I have medicine I need in my car”, etc.), but beyond that it’s better to zip your lip.
- Your Home Is A Special Place. If police arrive at your doorstep there are several important things to remember:
- Don’t ask them in. Police need a search warrant to search your house or an arrest warrant to come into your house to arrest you. If you ask them in you’ve just made their job a lot easier. While police can’t search your house if you let them in, the “plain view” doctrine says that anything they can see is fair game and could form the basis for probable cause to search the rest of the house or arrest you. Examples might be minor drug paraphernalia lying around the house, weapons, or anything else that might indicate to the police other illegal activity might be doing on.
- Don’t go outside. Again, if the police don’t have a search or arrest warrant they want you someplace where they can arrest you.
- Don’t go inside: If you’re arrested outside your home do not go back inside. Police have the right to accompany you and can search wherever you go inside your house. The plain view doctrine applies here as well.
- Your Car – Never Consent To A Search. Never allow the police to search your car without a warrant. Some officers may tell you, “I can always get a warrant and you’ll end up waiting here on the side of the road for hours.” Fine, no problem. Here’s the catch, the police can only get a warrant if they have probable cause, that means they have to clearly articulate to a judge exactly why they think you have something illegal in the car, and their probable cause can’t be based on hunches or “gut feelings”. It’s very likely the police won’t be able to get a warrant, and even if they do it provides your lawyer something to attack in case they do find something in your car.
- Do Not Ever Run. This may sound obvious, but in the heat of the moment, with fear and adrenaline controlling your actions, running will only make matters worse. In this modern day of radios, drones, helicopters, and computers, the police will track you down. Fleeing arrest just adds additional charges, and if you go to court the prosecutor will gladly point out to the jury or judge that you ‘fled’ to avoid arrest – a clear demonstration of your guilt. Instead, take a deep breath, then close your mouth and wait to talk to a lawyer. It’s your best shot at making it through the ordeal in the best shape possible.