Five things you need to know about speaking to police

What happens if I get pulled over by the police? What should I say to an officer, either during questioning or during an arrest? These are vital questions that every person in Texas should be able to answer. In the event you are questioned by police, here are five things you should know about what to say to an officer as well as what you should never say.

First, do not lie. You are doing enough by exercising your right to remain silent. Do not feel you have to throw the police off your trail by saying something that is untrue. If you do lie to the police, Findlaw points out that you could be charged with obstruction of justice. In many states, obstruction of justice is a felony offense.

Secondly, do not waive your right to remain silent by confessing to what you think is a small infraction. You might think the police will let you go with a slap on the wrist. This is a wrong assumption that can land you in major trouble. No matter what the charge, it is the burden of law enforcement to prove that you actually committed the crime.   

Third, never tell a police officer that they can search your vehicle or your home. You may think a search will show the officer that you have nothing to hide, but remember that police can use anything they find against you in court. Furthermore, the police can use evidence they find in your car as a basis to search other property you may own, such as your home. Conversely, if your property is searched without your consent and the officer has no other legal basis for the search, such as a warrant or probable cause, evidence confiscated in that search cannot be used against you.

Fourth, you can ask the police for a lawyer. According to a piece in the Atlantic, asking for an attorney before police questioning is a sound choice. Do not worry about offending an officer. Not only is your right to counsel protected under the Constitution, but many police officers would advise their relatives or friends to ask for an attorney if they were arrested. Just be polite and respectful as you ask for a lawyer.

Finally, do tell the police your identity. It is useless to try and remain anonymous. If arrested, you would be fingerprinted, after which you would remain in jail until your identity is established from the fingerprints. Not telling the police your name does not protect you and may lengthen your time in jail. Conversely, providing the police your identity will make the booking process go faster.

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