How to behave when confronted by a police officer...
- Above all, DO NOT RESIST ARREST! Even if the police officer
is later found to have illegally arrested you, such illegal arrest is not a defense to
- Be POLITE! Realize that in most cases, the officer is only
doing his job and antagonizing him or berating him will only increase your chances of
- If you feel the need to cooperate without contacting an attorney,
then insist that any promises made to you by a police officer are put in writing, signed
by you and the officer, and you be given a copy. Better yet, you should request that
any statement be tape recorded or video taped in its entirety. Do not go "off
the record" or talk when the recorder or video is not on.
- Remember the exercise of your constitutional rights not to make
statements or consent to searches cannot be used as evidence in court. However, your
exercise of these rights may not prevent the search of your person, car or home. Do
not interfere with the officer's search. If incriminating evidence is discovered,
your attorney may be able to challenge its admissibility later in court.
- Finally, many times officers will ignore your request to call an
attorney for advice, in which event it is still your option to comply with their requests
-- not a requirement! You should then seek legal counsel as soon as possible either
by phone call from the jail or after your release. The sooner a lawyer can be
retained, the "fresher" the evidence will be in witness interviews, scene
What to do when arrested...
Always insist that you be able to
contact legal counsel before performing any tests or answering any questions (other than
the basic question as to your identity) or before giving any consent to search your
person, car, or home.
In many cases, your initial contact with law enforcement officers may involve being
stopped while driving a motor vehicle. Many of these stops escalate into
investigations for possible drunk driving or even drug possession.
It is very typical for an officer to ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests
so he can determine if you are intoxicated. The first and most common test is the
(horizontal gaze nystagmus), which consists of having you follow a pin or flashlight with
your eyes. Other tests include one-leg stands and nose touching.
If you have been drinking, it could be in your best interest to insist that you be allowed
to contact a lawyer for advice as to whether you should submit to these tests. You
are under no obligation to do them. You must, however, produce your Texas driver's
license and insurance on demand.
At other times, whether stopped on the roadside or confronted at a home or business, you
may be asked to answer questions. You have no obligation to answer any
questions. You should politely request the opportunity to contact a lawyer for
advice prior to answering any questions.
Further, you also do not have to consent to any search of your person, car or home.
Again, you can insist that you be allowed to contact a lawyer prior to giving any such
consent. The officer might ignore your refusal and still conduct a search, but that
search may be challenged later in court to determine if the officer had sufficient legal
authority to search.