We live in a time where the relationship between police officers and civilians is, in many cases, strained. It’s a difficult time, both for people who have to interact with officers, and for the officers themselves. And as you can imagine, the result is fear. Many people are afraid of the police, and afraid of what will happen if they’re ever forced to interact with a Michigan police officer.
People are also unsure about what to expect, and what they should do in those situations. Because fear and uncertainty can sometimes lead people to make terrible impulse decisions, we thought it was important to give our readers a quick breakdown of what to do if you’re ever pulled over. A little ‘roadside police interaction 101’ if you will.
Follow the law
When you notice an officer behind you with lights and/or siren going, pull over immediately. DO NOT keep driving! DO NOT try to evade the officer or get away! Simply pull over as quickly and safely as you can.
Traffic stops are risky for cops. They’re walking up to a vehicle that contains unknown variables, and they are trained to be alert to threats. Do you have a gun? Are you under the influence of drugs? Are you doing something illegal? They have no idea, and so they are usually on high alert as they walk up to your vehicle.
The safest thing you can do is turn off your car, turn on your interior light (if it’s dark outside) and put both your hands on the top of your steering wheel. None of these actions is legally required, but it goes a long way towards making the officer approaching your car feel less threatened. If they can see your hands, they know you’re not armed and that will make YOU a lot safer in the long run.
Do not escalate the situation if possible. Be calm, polite and respectful. If the officer asks to see your license and registration, get the documents out and hand them over. If the officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, then do so. If they put handcuffs on you and tell you that you’re under arrest, do not fight them or try to run away.
Now this is important! Are you paying attention? Good. DO NOT argue with the police! DO NOT fight them, try to run away from them, threaten them or try to take their weapons! Nothing good will come of it for you. Almost all people who try to run away from the police at roadside stops are caught. They have search dogs, helicopters, weapons and multiple trained officers at their disposal. You only have you. So unless you want additional charges against you, be cooperative.
Remember your rights
While it’s very important to be respectful and polite, that doesn’t mean you have to build the prosecution’s case for them. Remember your rights! You DO NOT have to consent to a search, just because the officer asks you to. You should disregard any threat from the officer that s/he will get a search warrant if you don’t consent to a voluntary search. You DO NOT have to answer any questions they ask you (besides providing identifying information). Remember that you are on opposing teams. If you know anything about sports, then you know that being a cooperative player doesn’t mean scoring goals for the other team.
Many people think that being cooperative means answering all of the officers questions. They fall into the trap of thinking that if they’re helpful to the police that can clear up this little misunderstanding and get back to their lives. WRONG! Being ‘helpful’ by answering questions and agreeing to a search is only helpful TO THE POLICE! IT is NOT helpful to your case! So after you’ve expressed your desire for an attorney, keep your mouth shut!
Call The Kronzek Firm
You have the right to an attorney before answering questions (except about your identity). You also have the right to refuse to answer any questions until your attorney is present. So regardless of whether you’re guilty of a crime or completely innocent, ALWAYS call your attorney and wait for them to arrive before answering any questions!
Criminal cases can move very quickly once they’re rolling, so the sooner you have experienced legal representation on your side, the better protected you’ll be. At The Kronzek Firm, our highly skilled defense attorneys have decades of combined experience defending people from all over Michigan against criminal charges and police abuses. If officers have arrived at your house demanding to search the premises, or are accusing you of something that you didn’t do, you need to call us at 866 766 5245 immediately! We are here for you!