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Avoid Making these “Harmless” Statements to the Police

Getting stopped by the police is a stressful experience, and many people will do or say anything to end the encounter and go on their way. Unfortunately, a police stop is a charged situation. Innocent people can make a simple mistake, especially when answering an officer’s questions. These mistakes can ultimately result in a conviction. Our League City & Galveston criminal defense lawyer identifies some seemingly “harmless” statements to avoid making. Please call Tad Nelson and Associates if you were stopped or arrested by the police. We can discuss next steps in a free consultation.

“I Can Explain…”

This is usually the start of an attempt to talk your way out of handcuffs. We have met with so many defendants who thought they could just explain the situation to the cops and they’d be released.

But guess what? The police stopped you for a reason. They already think you have committed a crime or are about to. Mentally, they are already in the evidence collection stage. They are looking for you to say something they can use to prove you are guilty.

Almost anything you say at this point will hurt your case. There just is no way to talk your way to freedom.

Instead, you are more likely to blurt something out which is later used against you. You might slip up and admit to knowing someone who the police think is a witness to a crime. Now they are doubly convinced you are guilty. Or you admit to being at a neighborhood on a day when a crime was committed. They’ll make a mental note of that, too. Don’t try to talk your way out of an arrest. You have no obligation to answer their questions. Say, “I don’t want to answer that.”

“Sure, you can search my car [or my backpack, jacket, etc.]”

Before the police can search your belongings, they need probable cause that you have committed a crime or are about to. If they don’t have probable cause, they can’t legally search your belongings. If they do, your lawyer can ask your judge to suppress anything they find.

There’s a big exception to the probable cause requirement: consent. If you give permission, then it’s virtually impossible to get evidence thrown out—and much harder to defeat a criminal charge. The absolute last thing you should do is consent to a search. If the police want to search your property (like your car or bag), then make them get a warrant. Never consent.

“Here’s my phone.”

That’s another mistake—handing over a phone to a police officer. Increasingly, police are searching for data to use to link you to a crime. They also need a search warrant to search a cellphone, unless, of course, you turn it over voluntarily.

Even worse, some important information might pop up on your phone without the police needing to search for anything. For example, if your phone is unlocked, then a new message might pop up on the screen. Or you might have a picture showing on the phone which links you to a crime. It’s best to simply keep your phone in your pocket and not give the police permission to look at it.

“Come on inside.”

This is another mistake. Letting officers into your home could be construed as permission to search it. Also, you might have something lying around in plain view, which the officers can see links you to a crime. Imagine if there’s a small bag of drugs on the table. The police have stopped by to ask questions about alleged arson in the neighborhood, but now they see the drugs. They can arrest you.

If someone shows up at your door, you are not obligated to let them inside. The one exception is if they have a valid warrant.

“You’re an @#%^!”

Any profanity will only make a tense situation worse. At Tad Nelson & Associates, we have unfortunately met with many criminal suspects who got into physical altercations with the police after a stop. Now they are facing additional criminal charges.

Police officers are supposed to restrain themselves and not lash out at a suspect, even one using profanity. But some officers can’t help themselves, so there’s a risk you are only making things worse.

Call Our Firm for More Tips

Our criminal defense attorneys will gladly meet with anyone facing charges for a felony or misdemeanor. Contact us today by phone or online to schedule a free, no-risk consultation with our law firm.