A Quick Guide for Talking to the Police
Criminal Defense Attorneys Offer Advice for Talking to New Mexico Police
A police officer has shown up at your front door asking to speak with you.
Perhaps they have contacted you over the phone.
Regardless, you may find yourself in a panic. Being contacted by law enforcement is often scary and stressful, and you may not know your rights, how you should act, or what you should or should not say.
Whether you are a suspect in a crime, witness, or person of interest, you have rights when talking to the police. Therefore, knowing how to interact with law enforcement properly is critical so that you do not accidentally give them any reason to suspect you of wrongdoing.
You Can Refuse to Answer Questions – and Should
You have the right to remain silent, and you can exercise that right when talking to law enforcement – even if you are not under arrest. Exercising that right might be used against you, depending on the circumstances.
Answering basic questions, however, is okay. You can tell law enforcement your name, provide identification, and give contact information. Once the details span further, you have the right to remain silent.
Know That Anything You Say Can Be Used Against You
An officer stops you on the street and asks you questions. You answer assuming that you are not under arrest and anything you say can’t hurt you.
Sadly, anything you say during this casual encounter can still be used against you in some way. Therefore, it is best not to answer casual questions, regardless of how innocent law enforcement makes the encounter seem.
Do Not Consent to a Search
A common trick used by police is to come to your home or pull you over and casually request to search your belongings. They make it sound as though allowing a search will help you get on with your day or night, and they want you to trust them.
Do not trust law enforcement and never consent to a search regardless of what they might offer. Instead, request that they obtain a search warrant. Requesting a search warrant is your right and does not make you automatically guilty of a crime. Instead, it protects you from having evidence used against you.
Keep Calm, Stay Polite, and Avoid Unnecessary Confrontation
Regardless of how inconvenient it may be when you are stopped by police, being rude or combative is always a bad idea. A bad attitude and obvious disrespect could result in an arrest – even when law enforcement had no intentions of arresting you in the first place.
Always remain calm and polite. The more confrontational you are, the higher the chances are that you will be arrested and charged with a crime.
Know What You Should Never Say to Law Enforcement
Some things should just be kept to yourself, especially when talking to a police officer. For example, never admit to drinking if an officer stops you for a potential DUI. Admitting to even “one beer” could result in an arrest and give the officer reasonable suspicion to pursue a DUI charge.
At the same time, do not lie to law enforcement. Therefore, if an officer asks if you have had any drinks, you can refuse to answer their questions – but do not refuse the fact you drank if you actually did.
The Best Way to Interact with NM Law Enforcement Is Through an Attorney
To protect your rights and freedom, it is best that you have an attorney with you anytime you talk to police. Naturally, during a traffic stop, you cannot request counsel. But if you are detained or police want to question you further, you can request that they do so with your defense lawyer present.
For help on your case, contact New Mexico Criminal Law Offices immediately. Our criminal defense attorneys in New Mexico will show up to protect you during simple “questioning” by law enforcement, official interrogations, or during an investigation.
Schedule a case evaluation now by calling our office at 505-375-4672, or request more information online.