Getting pulled over by the police can be very stressful and confusing, especially if you haven't done anything wrong. Power disparities will only fuel tension. Police not only use force when they reasonably fear for their safety, but citizens and other government officials are also likely to believe the police’s version of events rather than yours. It is important that you remain calm when dealing with difficult situations with a police officer, as any rebellious attitude could serve as a pretext for increased use of force by the latter.
Part 1 of 3: dealing with the police after being arrested
Step 1. Know your rights
A police officer can stop you for any traffic violation, no matter how serious. However, he cannot stop you because of your age, race, or the type of car you drive.
- If you believe you have been wrongly arrested, record your interaction with the police officer if possible. You have the right to openly register the police. You can just put your phone on your dashboard and start recording. Make sure the phone is in sight of the police officer.
- If you cannot record the interaction electronically, write down everything you can remember, as soon as possible.
Step 2. Avoid sudden movements
When an officer approaches your car, you must take the handle of the vehicle and turn on the interior lights so that he can see you. Stay seated with your hands resting on the steering wheel until it reaches your car window. So the officer won't be able to tell himself that you are trying to grab something.
- Make all your movements slow. The officer is watching you very carefully to make sure you don't pull out a gun or hide something.
- If you want to take your driver's license, insurance contract and vehicle papers from your glove box, let the officer know what you are doing. In addition, keep these documents in an innocuous envelope (such as a bright yellow envelope) and not in a large bag or in a file large enough to contain a firearm.
- Put it this way: “Officer, can I take this yellow envelope that contains all the information about my insurance and my registration? "
- Park the car in a safe place. It is also advisable to lock your car.
- Do not get out of the car without asking the police for permission.
Step 3. Briefly answer the questions
Open ended questions are designed to get you to admit facts that could be used against you in court. The officer always knows why he's arresting you. Questions like, “Do you know why I'm stopping you? Are asked only to get you to confess something.
- However, staying silent can make your situation worse. The police might use your silence as an excuse to find a plausible reason to suspect you.
- Always answer "yes" or "no" and do not voluntarily provide information.
- If the officer asked you if you know why he is arresting you, just say "no".
- If he asks you if you know how fast you are traveling, say "yes". If you answer no to this question, the officer might think you are unaware of the speed limit or how fast you are going.
- If you are asked if you have good reason to go at high speed, say no. If you answer in the affirmative, even if you are not driving at high speed, the police officer may believe you are and you may be fined.
- If the officer asks you if you have been drinking and if you are not, gently say no, in case you are arrested for misconduct. However, tell the police if you have taken any medication or have any illness that could cause you driving problems.
Step 4. Agree to take a breathalyzer test
If the officer finds even an open bottle of beer or liquor in your car, or if he just smells of alcohol, he or she may give you a breathalyzer and field sobriety test. While a police officer cannot force you to take a breathalyzer test without first obtaining a sight warrant, the consequences of refusing to take the test can be just as serious as those of being convicted of safe driving. drunkenness.
- If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test and are arrested, you may be forced to take the test in prison if the officer obtains a warrant in the meantime.
- If you violate traffic laws, the police officer can easily get a warrant to force you to take the test.
- Laws vary by country. For example, in some areas of the United States, refusing to take the breathalyzer test is not strictly speaking a violation. It is recommended to always contact a lawyer.
Step 5. Follow the agent's instructions
If you refuse to comply with an agent's requests, you will be considered rebellious. Resistance strengthens the officer's belief that he can use force against you.
- Therefore, if you are stopped while driving, stay in the car unless you are asked to exit. Getting out of the car unexpectedly is almost always seen as a threat.
- Even if the officer is disrespectful to you or threatens you in a way that breaks the law, do not react in a way that gives them a reason to arrest you or to use more force against you.
Step 6. Refuse to search your vehicle
The officer might ask you if he can check or inspect your car. You don't have to accept. However, there are several reasons why an officer might inspect your car without your consent.
- For example, if the policeman sees any illegal object with his own eyes, he could search the part of the vehicle where these objects are located and stop you if necessary. Of course, his presence must be justified and he must see with his own eyes the object in question.
- Once again, the object still clearly visible. An officer cannot search the interior of a car if he does not see everything amazing with his own eyes.
- The police officer can also search the car if he has "probable reasons". The likely reasons could be: driver involvement in suspicious activity, comments, as well as things the officer can smell, see or hear such as security breaches, open safes and the element that could turn out to be a weapon.
Step 7. Ask for the officer's name and badge number
When a police officer stops you, you should always ask for their name and badge number. This would make it easier for you to complain if the need arises.
- Ask to end the meeting so as not to escalate hostilities.
- If the police officer opposes your request or you are afraid to ask them, just write down the time and place of the arrest in a notebook and try to get the police officer's badge number.
Step 8. Ask if you are free to go
If a police officer improperly arrests you or holds you back for no apparent reason, you can ask them if you are free to go or not. If the latter has no reason to hold you back and stops you anyway, he will have to let you go. Kindly ask if you are free to go.
- You may have to ask the question a few times if you are faced with a really difficult police officer. Speak to him, however, in a firm and calm voice.
- Very often, when a police officer makes an arrest, but has doubts (without probable cause) that the arrested person has illegal products in their car (such as drugs), they will try to detain the driver until the arrest. arrival of a dog unit.
- If you think you are going to be detained until a dog unit arrives at the scene of the arrest, ask the police officer if they have any probable reason to hold you back. Otherwise, he should let you go.
Part 2 of 3: Communicating With A Difficult Police Officer After An Arrest
Step 1. Find out if he has the right to stop you
Although it is very embarrassing to be arrested, the police can be free to use their power in many cases. Police can arrest an individual in a variety of situations.
- During a traffic stop, the police could stop a driver if they discover that the latter has committed a crime.
- A police officer can be said to have a "probable reason" for making an arrest if he has sufficient evidence to objectively support the idea that the suspect committed a crime or that a wanted item was used. to commit a crime. For example, if an officer finds any kind of narcotic in your vehicle during your stop, they will have reasonable grounds to stop you.
Step 2. Act peacefully
Don't resist the police if you get arrested. Doing so will only further justify the use of force on you. If you had been arrested illegally, you could file a complaint against the police.
The police have the power, the weapons, the legal authority, as well as the ability to use force against you if you resist. It is unlikely that you will be able to escape, but you could get killed
Step 3. Stay calm during digs
Although you may have reason to get upset, you won't get anywhere by resisting arrest and struggling. Instead, stay calm during digs. If you are arrested, the police can simply search:
- your body and your clothes,
- your property,
- your vehicle, if you were driving it at the time of your arrest.
Step 4. Ask for a lawyer
As soon as you are arrested, the police will read you your rights, including the right to remain silent, the fact that anything you say could be held against you in court, the right to have a lawyer present during questioning and the fact that you can benefit from a lawyer if you ask for it.
- Asking for a lawyer should end the questioning. It is not enough to simply remain silent. The police can't tell if you want a lawyer just because you refuse to speak.
- Ask your lawyer several times if the police keep asking you questions.
- If you are questioned without reading your rights, the statements you make cannot be used as evidence against you in a trial.
- However, the statements could be used against you, if you testify.
Step 5. Keep silent
Stay silent after asking for a lawyer. Your right to remain silent is a protection and one of the advantages against self-incrimination.
- After learning about your rights, the police can even continue to argue with you, and anything you say to them voluntarily could be used against you in a trial.
- Asking questions about the case as well could be interpreted as a willingness to resume questioning. Interact with the police only for a simple request such as food, water or to go to the bathroom.
Step 6. Meet your lawyer
A court-appointed lawyer may be available to you if you cannot afford one. Tell your lawyer about everything that happened during the stop, including any actions taken by the police.
Be patient. If you have been wrongly arrested, it could take a long time before you are cleared by the court, either by being acquitted of any charges against you or by suing the police. You will have to arm yourself with patience
Part 3 of 3: initiate a lawsuit against the police
Step 1. Write down any type of harassment or confrontation you encounter
If the police are stationed in front of your house or following you for no obvious reason, write the date and time somewhere. If you were unlawfully arrested, write down anything that comes to your mind about the incident.
- Having a paper document will come in handy if you want to seek justice, either through an internal complaint or by taking legal action.
- If your encounter resulted in physical beatings and injuries, document this with color photographs as soon as possible.
Step 2. Avoid confrontation
If you are being followed by the police, do not get angry and confront them. Instead, make a composite of the officers behind you and write down their badge numbers if you can.
Objecting to police officers only gives them the opportunity to conclude that you are aggressive, which in turn may support their ability to use force
Step 3. Find a lawyer
You can sue police officers in civil courts for a variety of reasons. For example, you could sue them for excessive use of force, unlawful arrest, or intentional infliction of emotional distress. An experienced lawyer will listen to your story carefully and advise you on the best course of action.
- The remuneration of many lawyers is conditional. Under this agreement, they will only be paid if you are compensated.
- You will be responsible for the costs of the dispute, such as the costs of files, photocopies, mailing as well as the costs of the expert witness. These costs can be estimated at several thousand euros. It is always recommended to obtain an estimate of these costs.
- To find an experienced lawyer, contact the Bar Association in your country. This professional body will administer a referral program.
Step 4. File a lawsuit
When you bring a civil action against the police, you can claim damages for harassment or abuse you suffered at the hands of the police. During the trial, your lawyer may ask the officer questions during the testimony and request documents available to the officer and the police.
Step 5. File a malpractice report
If you choose not to take legal action or if your lawsuit was dismissed, you should consider filing a misconduct report. This report will trigger an internal investigation into the officer's actions. To get the form, do some research online.
- You should avoid bringing a malpractice lawsuit if you have an ongoing legal action against the police. A misconduct report can lead you to reveal too much information about your ongoing trial and the strategy adopted.
- You should also not file a complaint if you have been arrested. By filing a misconduct report, you may be giving up your right to remain silent.
- Internal investigations rarely lead to the recognition of fault. However, the report may remain in the officer's file.
- Make copies of your report and store them in a safe place.
- If you do not have your license or vehicle papers with you, the officer can arrest you for driving without parts or can amend you. However, if you have a good excuse for not having these documents, the officer may allow you to present another piece of identification that could be used to identify you.
- Try to never drive without your vehicle papers and your driver's license.