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Beware of what you say to a police officer

When you see the blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror, you may panic at first, especially if you have any alcohol or drugs in your system. It is not wise to allow panic to dictate your actions, but it is still a good idea to take the matter seriously.

No matter what the circumstances, you should remember to remain calm and say as little as possible. Whether you are actually guilty of a crime is not yet known, but the moment a police officer engages you, he or she is looking for evidence of a crime. Always remember that literally every part of your interaction with the officer may count as evidence against you later on, so the less that you say or do, the better, generally speaking.

Do not volunteer information

You might think that you can lessen the blow of this interaction by simply "coming clean" with the officer. This may work as a strategy when dealing with a disappointed parent, but with the police, it is only giving them evidence against you on a silver platter. In almost every instance, this is unwise, especially if drugs or alcohol are involved.

Instead, answer questions with "yes" or "no" and if the officer continues to pry, you may ask if you are free to go. If he or she does not have a reason to keep you, then you should leave calmly.

Do not give the officer permission to search anything

If an officer asks you for permission to search your person, your vehicle or some other piece of your property, do not give him or her this permission. Understand, if an officer asks for it, this means he or she probably needs it, legally speaking.

Police may not search your property without some form of justification. This may include visual evidence of wrongdoing, like visible contraband in your back seat, or behavior on your part that indicates a crime, such as speeding or erratic driving. In the absence of some specific evidence suggesting a crime, they cannot generally search you or your property without a warrant or your permission to do so.

If an officer does ask for this permission, you may simply say "I do not consent to a search." If an officer searches you or your vehicle, anyway, this is possibly a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights, and may invalidate criminal charges that arise from your interaction.

Do not lie to an officer

Silence is golden whenever you can reasonably keep your mouth shut. However, if you speak with an officer, do not lie. If the officer realizes that you are lying, then you only make matters worse, because lying to an officer constitutes a criminal charge.

The less you say, the better. If you do find yourself facing criminal charges, be sure to carefully examine the details of your interaction with the police to help you build a strong legal defense and keep your rights and liberties secure.

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