Dos and Don’ts when Interacting with the Police

Dos and Don’t When Interacting With the Police

Police questioning, whether before or after an arrest, can be aggressive, deceptive, and intrusive. Do not interact with the police without an attorney present, even if you are innocent or believe you are not a suspect. Call Combs Waterkotte immediately at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online.

You can always give the police information after you have talked to our St. Louis criminal defense attorney, but you can’t go back and protect your rights after you have interacted with the police without your lawyer present. While you are not obligated to speak with the police, or any other law enforcement member for that matter, it doesn’t mean you should be rude or confrontational. Politely decline to answer any questions without the presence of a lawyer and move on.

What Happens If I’m Stopped For Questioning in St. Louis or Elsewhere in Missouri?

Police in St. Louis and anywhere else throughout Missouri have the right to stop you and ask you questions at any time. However, you have the right to refuse to answer them and remain silent. The following are some dos and don’ts when it comes to interacting with police, provided by the Combs Waterkotte St. Louis criminal defense attorneys:

The Dos

  • Exercise your right to remain silent. It is within your rights under the Fifth Amendment. You cannot be detained for refusing to answer questions. Ask if you’re legally required to identify yourself. If yes, then you are only required to give your legal name, date of birth, and address. Otherwise, clearly state that you want to remain silent to avoid further complications. Also note that you are not required to show photo identification unless you were stopped while driving.
  • Know that you have the right to record. Under the First Amendment, you have the right to record police exercising their official duties in public. As long as it doesn’t directly interfere with police work, recording all interactions can be beneficial for a more transparent process.

The Don’ts

  • Do not disrespect police officers. Show respect to officers not because they’re figures of authority, but because they are human beings just like you.
  • Don’t run away or physically resist a police officer. If your resistance results in an injury to an officer, you can be charged with a class E felony, leading to up to 4 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

What Happens If I’m Stopped In My Car Near St. Louis or Elsewhere in Missouri?

Whenever you are pulled over in St. Louis or anywhere throughout Missouri, regardless of the outcome, be sure to call Combs Waterkotte at (314) 900-HELP the first opportunity you have or reach out to us online:

The Dos

  • Know your right to refuse a search. Under the Fourth Amendment, authorities can’t search your car and house unless they have a warrant or you give consent. Be careful because even casual questions like, “Can I look in the back of your car?” without an answer can be misconstrued as an answer.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t physically resist a search. Simply saying, “I do not consent to a search,” is enough if there are no grounds to search you or your property. Making sure that your lack of consent is verbally stated is vital since, unlike the Miranda rights, officers are not required to give you a warning about your rights for searches.
  • Don’t bribe the police. Both giving and receiving bribes are class E felonies and can be punishable by imprisonment and up to three times the amount of the bribe offered.
  • Do not drive away. Most of the time, cars are stopped due to investigatory detention. This means the police only have reasonable suspicion and are just checking if their suspicions pan out. The police will need probable cause to make an arrest or use force. Driving away quickly becomes a class A misdemeanor charge of eluding police, unless you create a substantial risk of serious injury or death to any person, in which case it is a class E felony.

What Happens If I’m Arrested/Detained In St. Louis or Elsewhere in Missouri?

The Dos

  • Definitely exercise your right to consult a lawyer. Call Combs Waterkotte immediately at (314) 900-HELP. Do this right away. Ask for a lawyer, and officers will end their questioning. Remember not to give statements and avoid making decisions without a lawyer present.
  • Exercise your right to know the grounds of your arrest. You can demand answers. Ask these two questions:
    1. Am I being detained or am I free to leave?
    2. Why am I being detained/arrested?

The Don’ts

  • Do not talk about your case on the phone. Your words may and will be used against you in a court of law. Only phone calls and physical conversations with your lawyers are allowed privacy when you are being detained. Avoid saying anything self-incriminating that might be recorded over the phone.

Dos and Don’ts when Interacting with the Police | Do Call Combs Waterkotte

Your rights are not there at the expense of others. They are your rights, and being aware of them and knowing when they are being violated is a must. The Combs Waterkotte criminal defense lawyers know the ins and outs of St. Louis and Missouri law, and how to apply it to protect you and your rights when interacting with police. You need the best possible defense attorney on your side during the inconveniences and uncertainties surrounding any interaction with police.

Call a Combs Waterkotte St. Louis marijuana charges attorney today at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online for a free, confidential case review.