When it comes to getting stopped by the police, things can get a bit nerve-wracking. While you might not have done anything wrong, you still feel on edge, right?
Being stopped by a cop can be a very stressful situation and knowing your rights is one of the best ways to begin really helping yourself to cope properly. Whether you’re facing a traffic stop of some kind or you’re pulled over for a reason you cannot quite comprehend, at some point in your life you will be beside an officer with your window down. When you are pulled over first and foremost do not get irritated or act angry/annoyed at the officer. Remember, in most cases, he or she is trying to do his or her job.
You do not have to consent to a search without wanting to and you do not have to say anything that you feel might get you in trouble. When you’re pulled over you should be able to reflect back on different laws and constitutional rights to get you through things easily. Below I am going to go over some of the more common phrases that should be used but are often not used when it comes to situations like this.
6 Things You Can And Should Say When Stopped By The Police:
1. I’m sorry could you explain that again officer.
If you do not understand something the officer is saying to you, do not hesitate to ask them to explain things to you. While this should not be done in excess or in a manner that seems to be mocking them (or they may deem it as some kind of obstruction plot) you need to know what you’re discussing. Police are allowed to lie (to you) and being aware of that is important. While you cannot lie to them, they can do a lot to get you to say things they want you to say.
When you consent to searches whether you have something to hide or not you are giving up your fourth amendment right and you should not do that. You might hear them say something like ‘well if you’ve got nothing to hide’ or something of the sort, this is just a tactic that they use to try and convince you. You never know what other people may have accidentally left in your car (even those you trust).
3. I would like a/my lawyer.
If you’ve already gotten caught doing something or are in over your head asking for your lawyer is important. Do not say anything that could further incriminate you. Your lawyer is the one who should be doing the talking at this point, period.
4. Am I free to go?
When facing an officer who doesn’t seem to want to back down but doesn’t have much substance to go on, asking if you are free to go might make him/her mad but is a valid question. This makes them aware more-so that the situation at hand is not a mutual one and that in itself might help you later on if things do somehow for any reason escalate. If they say ‘yes’ calmly and safely leave but if they say no, stay put and again remain relaxed.
5. Did I do something wrong?
When being hounded by the officer about why you are where you are or what you’re out doing asking if you did something wrong is a way to allow the conversation to move forward without raising suspicion as you would in remaining silent. If you do not want to answer directly saying things like this can help within reason.
If things seem to be getting deep and perhaps intense you have the right to remain silent and are free to use it. You don’t want to dig yourself deeper regardless of the situation and sometimes remaining silent is the best option. Oftentimes you can tell when to use this one but don’t choose to, choosing to is something you need to work on.
Below you will find a video on how a traffic stop with a perhaps irritated officer should go. This meaning you would be remaining calm and while he might try to convince you to allow him to search your vehicle or incriminate yourself, you take the steps to make sure that does not happen. While not all stops will go like this one, knowing your rights puts you in the place to begin making more of your own decisions in this regard.