How to Deal with Police Officers
Advice from a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Collins
Be aware that the police will lie to you to get you to talk. Believe it or not, they're allowed to do this. They will say things like "we know you did it," or "your buddy already confessed," or something along those lines. Don't let them fool you, remain silent.
Keep in mind that the police officer, detective, or even the police captain has no authority to promise you favorable treatment if you "cooperate." Only the District Attorney has the power to make that offer. The deals involving cooperation should only be negotiated between your attorney and the District Attorney.
If you are arrested and placed in jail, be sure not to talk about your case over the phone since you may be recorded. Also, don't talk about your case with any of the other inmates, as they may have an incentive to help the District Attorney in order to get a good deal for themselves.
At the Law Office of Kevin R. Churchill, clients will find a dedicated Fort Collins criminal defense lawyer who can provide quality representation. Call (970) 238-2982 today to schedule a free consultation.
Do Not Give Consent to Search
Police or detectives are not allowed to search your home unless you give them consent to do it. (If they have a search warrant, there isn’t much you can do.) Here again, don't be intimidated into giving consent.
Watch Out for the Recorded Phone Call
The police may get someone to call you and record what you say. They may have the alleged victim in your case call you and say, "I think they know you did it," or something like that. You should not respond to a statement or a question like that. Hang up the phone. The same type of call may come from a co-defendant (someone else who has been charged with the same offense). The co-defendant may be working with the police in order to get a good deal themselves. Once again, don't answer and hang up.
You Have No Obligation to Talk to the Police, Ever
Unless you are subpoenaed to come to court and asked questions by a lawyer in a hearing, you do not have to speak to the police. Stand firm when you are asserting your right to remain silent. Police may tell you they will do something (like arrest you) if you don't talk to them. In general, if they have enough evidence to arrest you, they will whether or not you talk to them. Rarely, if ever, can a person talk his or her way out of an arrest if the police believe they can make a case in Colorado court against the person.
Most often, when people being investigated talk to the police, they wind up providing the police with a little bit of information that the police didn't have before, making the case against them worse when it gets to court. If the police want to talk to you and you refuse, and then the police arrest you, if they didn't have the proper factual basis to arrest you, your lawyer can challenge the arrest in court. If you've tried to talk your way out of an arrest, and the police arrest you anyway, all the things you told them will be brought out as evidence against you, and usually misinterpreted to boot. If you want to talk to the police, request permission to speak to a lawyer first, get the officer's phone number, and have the lawyer call the officer to arrange a time when the lawyer can advise you during the interrogation.
Police Can Lie to You About What They’re Looking For
You never have to let the police into your house. When they have a search warrant, you should let them in, because they can break the door and barge in if they want. When they have an arrest warrant, you should come out of your house to be arrested, because otherwise they can barge in to look for you, and then search the inside of your house once they're inside. If they have a warrant, you should ask the police to show it to you before letting them in. But if the police have no warrant at all, you do not need to let them in. Often the police will tell you they will get a warrant if you don't cooperate. Let them, they may be bluffing. More people than I can describe become their own worst enemies in court by agreeing to let the police do something, thinking they'll get a break later, only to find that their own agreement, or statements, are what led the police to gather the evidence against them.
If A Police Officer Wants to Talk to You on the Street, You Do Not Have to Stop & Talk to Them
Tell them (politely) that you're busy and keep going on your way. If they already have a reason to arrest you, they probably will. But if they don't, they may try to talk to you to gather the additional information they need to arrest you. Your stopping to talk to them may be deemed to be "consensual" in court and not a violation of your rights.
Police Are Looking for Reasons to Suspect You
Usually, when they talk to you (on the street, in your car, or in some other public place) they will examine you (without your knowing it!) for signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There is nothing you can do about some of these symptoms, they pertain to things like the amount of moisture in your mouth, the smell of your breath, and the size of your pupils. Mr. Churchill advises clients not to voluntarily stop and talk to the police in part because often during these "consensual encounters" the police will see "symptoms" of what could be drug influence that they couldn't have noticed if you just kept going when they "asked" to talk to you.
If You're in a Car, the Police Need a Specific Reason to Pull You Over
Be aware of the condition of your car and the rules of the road, to avoid giving them such a reason. The most common traffic violations that I've seen, which give the police reason to pull you over, are: no current registration tags, a brake light or headlight out, failing to signal while turning or changing lanes, failing to come to a complete stop, speeding, weaving (even within your own lane – that's considered "suspicion of drunk driving"), and changing lanes over a solid white line.
Don't Argue with Police
There is nothing to be gained from being offensive or confrontational with the police. First, you shouldn’t be talking to the police to begin with. Second, making offensive remarks, cursing, or calling them names will only aggravate your case in the eyes of the District Attorney and the judge later in court. You should always comply with Colorado police officers if they intend to arrest you.
Avoiding the Police in Colorado Can Be Used Against You
Running from the police, or doing things to avoid them, can be used by the District Attorney as evidence that you are guilty of the crime you have been charged with. The most famous example is the car chase in the O.J. Simpson case, which was admitted into evidence at trial by the prosecution team. The famous car chase, along with Simpson’s departure from L.A. immediately after the murder, was considered by many to be among the strongest pieces of evidence for the prosecution.
To speak to a Fort Collins criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Office of Kevin R. Churchill today.