Know Your Rights: when Stopped by Police

Your actions when approached, questioned, or arrested by police can either greatly help or hurt your situation. It is important for all citizens to know their rights when dealing with a sensitive situation of being either investigated or arrested by a law enforcement officer. By knowing your rights and following this advice you will be placing yourself in the best position to assist your criminal defense attorney defend you in your situation.

What you SHOULD DO if stopped by police or arrested?

1. REMAIN SILENT

2. STAY CALM

3. TREAT THE OFFICER WITH RESPECT

4. CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY

As an American you have a Constitutional right to remain silent. Please do keep quiet and only give the officer your name as required by Georgia law. Nothing else needs to be said. NO EXCEPTIONS. You do not have to be read Miranda in most situations, however it is always your right to remain silent. Being silent is not lying, there is a time to tell the truth and it begins with telling your attorney. As stressful and fearful as the situation maybe try your best to remain calm and keep your hands where the officer can see them at all times. Although you are elected to use your constitutional right to remain silent, you do not have to be rude to do so. Treat all police officers and law enforcement personnel with respect, even if you feel they are being rude to you. Cooperate and comply with their commands. Contact your attorney, or CAM LAW at 770-608-2890 IMMEDIATELY. Be very clear in requesting an attorney and do not say anything else until your attorney arrives.

What you SHOULD NOT DO if stopped by police or arrested?

1. ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE INCIDENT

2. ARGUE OR BE DISRESPECT TO THE OFFICER

3. LET AN OFFICER CONVINCE YOU TO ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS

4. GIVE THE OFFICER PERMISSON TO SEARCH YOU OR YOUR PROPERTY

When being stopped, questioned or arrested by law enforcement you should not answer any questions about the incident or anything else. Essentially, you should ONLY provide officers your name and request an attorney. Also, do not speak to strangers, family, friends or even people who may be in a jail cell with you about your case. If arrested and taken to the police station or jail, do not speak to anyone over the phone about the incident even using code language. These calls are recorded and monitored and WILL be used against you. The only person you should talk to about your situation is your attorney. Although you may be angry or scared, nothing better will occur by arguing or being disrespectful to the officer or other law enforcement personnel. Despite your personal feelings, be respectful and wait patiently for your attorney to be provided to you.

It is the police’s job to try and get as much information from you as possible. The law allows and police are trained to lie in order to gain more information. They may use a friendly demeanor or scare tactics to get more information from you. You may say things out of context or forget parts so the best thing for you to do is to remain silent and speak only to your attorney. Do not allow law enforcement to convince you that you must speak with them now or speak with them without your attorney because it will be better for you or because “it is the right thing to do.” Your attorney is the only person who will only have your best interest at heart and can help you decide whether or not to share with the police. Do not ever give police permission to search you, your personal property, or your home. Law enforcement has the ability to obtain a search warrant to most things. When officers know they need a search warrant and do not have a strong legal basis to obtain one, they resort to asking for your permission to search. Do not allow them to convince you that it is in your benefit to allow them to search you or your property, because it is not.

If all else fails, and you don’t remember all these rules PLEASE remember (1) you have the right to remain SILENT and (2) you have the right to an attorney. Exercise both!

CAM LAW and attorney Cawanna McMichael offer premier criminal defense representation thoughout the West Georgia areas of Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson, Meriwether, and Troup Counties. If you have been arrested, contact us at 770-608-2890 or www.cam.law to assist you with your criminal matter.

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