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Conner's Cautions - What To Do If Police Stop You

Be wary.

Be kind, polite and respectful.

Do not trust that the police will look out for your best interests.

Never talk bad to a police officer.

Never argue with the police.

Do not cuss.

Remember anything you say or do can and will be used against you.

More importantly, remember that nothing you say or do can be used to help you in any trial.

What you say to the police is always important.

What you say can give the police an excuse to arrest you, especially if you bad mouth the officer.

Don't make any statements regarding the incident. Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.

Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and motions.

Keep your hands where the police can see them.

Don't run.

Don't touch any police officer.

Don't resist, even if innocent.

Don't complain on the scene or tell the police that they are wrong or that you are going to file a complaint.

Remember the officer's badge and patrol car numbers.

Write down everything you remember as soon as possible, and write on this document that this is for communication with your attorney, and for your attorney's eyes only.

Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.

If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.

If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with the police department's Internal Affairs Division. If that doesn't work, talk with your attorney about other resources.

You don't have to consent to the search of yourself, your car or your house. Always insist that the police have a search warrant for any search. If you do consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court.

If the police say they have a search warrant, ask to see it.

Do not interfere with, or obstruct the police--you can be arrested for it.

If you are stopped for questioning:

It is not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but your actions in refusing to answer questions can make the police suspicious about you.

Tell the police that attorneys advise you to not to answer police questions, unless your attorney is present.

You can't be arrested merely for refusing to identify yourself on the street.

A police officer may pat down your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. Don't physically resist but make it clear you do not consent to any further search.

Ask if you are under arrest. If you are, you have a right to know why.

If you are stopped while driving:

You don't have to answer a police officer's questions, but upon request, you must show your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance when stopped in a car.

In other situations, you can't legally be arrested for simply refusing to identify yourself to a police officer.

In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant so long as the police have probable cause.

To protect yourself, make it clear that you do not consent to a search.

It is not lawful for the police to arrest you for simply refusing to consent to a search.

If you are given a ticket, you should sign it, otherwise you can be subjected to arrest. You can always fight the ticket, later in court.

If you are suspected of driving while impaired and refuse to take a blood test, your driver's license will be suspended in NC and many states.


If the police ask to enter your home, you don't have to allow them unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.

However, in some emergency situations, like when a person inside is screaming for help, or when the police are chasing someone, officers are allowed to enter and search your home without a warrant.

If you are arrested, the police can search you and the area close by. If you are in a building "close by" usually means just the room you are in.

If you are arrested or taken to a police station:

Remain silent and talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police.

Tell the police nothing but your name and address.

Don't offer any explanations, excuses or stories. Keep your mouth shut.

You can defend yourself later in court, based on your consultation with your attorney.

Ask to see a lawyer immediately. If you cannot pay for a lawyer, you have a right to a free one and you should ask the police how a lawyer can be contacted.

Do not say anything without a lawyer.

Within a reasonable time after your arrest, you have the right to make a local phone call to a lawyer, bail bondsmen, relative or any other person. The police may not listen to your call to the attorney.

Do not make any decisions in your case until you have talked with a lawyer.

Sometimes, you can be released without bail or have bail lowered. Ask your attorney about this possibility.

You must be taken before the judge on the next court date after you arrest.

Everyone recognizes the need for effective law enforcement, but we should understand our rights and responsibilities - especially in a regard to the police. Everyone has the right to courteous and respectful police treatment.

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The Graham.Nuckolls.Conner. Law Firm, PLLC
321 Evans Street, Suite 200
Hendrix Building
Greenville, NC 27858

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Phone: 252-493-6114
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