Getting pulled over or approached by an officer of the law can be an uncomfortable experience. While many people already know their rights during a traffic stop, there are several misconceptions about general police interaction that can lead to an arrest.
Here’s a look at some of the top falsities that people believe to be true and how you can avoid jail time by knowing the actual law.
Officers Can’t Lie to You
The movies taught you wrong if you believe that a police officer has to answer truthfully if you ask them about their status as a cop. If you’ve been pulled over or moved aside in public for questioning, the officer is on the job and prepared to give you a ticket or have you arrested. They have no obligation to tell you they are police officers and can lie if it would benefit the outcome of their conversation with you.
Your best bet in any situation where an officer hasn’t revealed themselves to you is to remain calm and do your best to legally comply with the questions asked of you.
“I Don’t Answer Any Questions”
There’s a YouTube video floating around on the internet where a man tells his audience that the easiest way to get the police to leave you alone is by stating, “I don’t answer any questions.” While this seemingly works in his video, this, and pure silence aren’t the smartest approaches to police interactions.
Usually, these actions will not prevent further questioning and could actually escalate an already bad situation. If you truly don’t want to answer any questions, make sure to give the officer your name, identification, and then politely request your right to remain silent.
This type of reaction will be the one to protect you from giving any incriminating information to the officers. Unfortunately, many people believe that silence will work, but even that can be used against you as an act of defiance.
I’m Not Under Arrest, My Tone Doesn’t Matter
Many people believe that because they pay taxes, police officers owe them the immediate respect of patience if they aren’t under arrest, no matter what. We’ve seen the situation play out poorly before and need to warn you.
Especially if you know you are in the wrong, do not approach a police officer with an aggressive tone that could get you into trouble. Once again, remain calm. There’s a fine line between talking too much and acting too nervously that can be difficult to walk. Anytime you speak with a police officer, keep in mind that they are reading your tone like an open book and will take action based on their discretion.
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