When you’re talking to a police officer, you need to know what your rights are and how to stay safe. In an arrest situation, this could be the difference between innocence and guilt. Your conversations with officers will vary depending on the circumstances but one thing that remains true in all cases is your option to stay silent. This is often the best option even if you aren’t suspected of a crime or misdemeanor. If there’s a crime or investigation, for example, police officers may question nearby citizens and you may politely decline. Answering any questions falsely, however, is considered obstruction of justice.
If you’ve been detained while driving or walking, meaning a police officer has shown enough authority that you are no longer clear to leave, you may stay silent. That being said, you should avoid moving along until the officer has given you express permission to leave. Arrests occur when you’re held against your will, either being handcuffed or personally escorted to a station, and your right to move around freely is restricted. Still, your right of silence remains and is perhaps most important in these cases were a court hearing is most likely. In these situations, the safest thing you can legally say is something along these lines: “I wish to invoke my right of silence. I want to talk to my lawyer.” At this point, police officers will be required by law to accept the statement. If they don’t, you may repeat it politely until they do.
One common myth about interacting with the police is that you can be charged for declining to speak with them. Officers cannot charge anyone without just cause and they cannot add charges to existing ones just for failure to speak openly. It’s important that you don’t give away any unnecessary information and doing so should not affect your arrest. Many criminals end up getting charged because of the evidence they gave away willingly. Think before you speak! No matter how brief your conversation with an officer is, you need to know how to safely interact with them. A police officer’s biggest concern is safety. Therefore, your actions should appear relaxed, you should keep your hands in view at all times and you shouldn’t make any sudden movements. If you need to reach for something or take steps in any direction, do so slowly. Never touch any police equipment including cars, bikes or animals.
At Gwinnett County Bail Bonds, we believe our clients are innocent until proven guilty and we treat them that way. If you find yourself in need of bail or pre-trial advice, our bail bond agents are able to assist, any day of the week, any time.