What To Do If You're Contacted By the Police

As a criminal defense lawyer,  I urge you to keep several points in mind if you are contacted by law enforcement.  In fact, following these pointers can be the difference between freedom and serving serious jail time.

Do Not Speak With The Police and Contact US at 425-657-3192 - 24/7

This point is essential, and well known to much of the public, but it is amazing how rarely it is followed.  When approached and asked questions by the police, many people opt to try to explain themselves.  No one likes to be the subject of inquiry or investigation by law enforcement, and the thinking is that if perhaps the police understood your side of the story, they would leave you alone or pursue the real culprit.

Telling your side of the story will not make the police believe they have the wrong suspect.  It will not correct any misperceptions the police may have.  In fact, police often interrogate suspects by intentionally telling them an inaccurate statement of the facts, or making the case against the suspect sound worse than it actually is.  Police do this to try to draw a response, and to see if the suspect will reveal any incriminating information.  When you get defensive and try to “clear things up,” you are doing exactly what the police want you to do.

Police are asking questions because they believe you are involved in some criminal activity.  They are not going to drop their investigation based on what you, a suspect, tells them.  There is simply nothing you can gain by giving the police information.  You have a great deal to lose, as any statements you make can be used against you in criminal proceedings.  

Do Not Consent To Anything

The U.S. Constitution strictly limits the ability of law enforcement to search for evidence in private places.  Police cannot simply search your person, your car, or your home, unless certain circumstances are met.  A warrant can entitle police to search these things, and other limited exceptions to the general rule may apply, but police often try to conduct valid searches based on consent.

If police ask if they can search you, your car, your luggage or bags, or your home, do not let them.  You have the right to refuse to consent to a search, but police will not advise you of this right.  Instead, they will try to pressure you into allowing the search, or act as though it is in your best interests to allow the search – after all, if you have nothing to hide, why not allow the search?  Do not cave in to this pressure, and do not consent to a search.

Contact a Bellevue Criminal Defense Attorney at 425-657-3192 - 24/7

If you even suspect that you are the subject of a police investigation, you should contact an attorney [link to Contact page] right away.  It is important that you contact not just any attorney, but an experienced criminal defense attorney in King County. A lawyer familiar with Washington state criminal law can advise you on dealing with the police and their questions, and counsel you of the next steps you can take.  An attorney can also help to head off the search before it gathers momentum, make sure that proper police protocols and evidence-gathering methods are followed, and assist you promptly in the event you are arrested and charged with a crime.

If You Are Arrested . . .

If you are arrested, the pointers above continue to apply.  Do not consent to any search while you are arrested (though police are entitled to search your person at the time of arrest).  Do not decide that, once you are in jail, it is time to spill your guts in the hope that you may get out of jail.  Resist the urge to talk about the charges against you with other inmates, who may relate what you say to law enforcement officials.  Most importantly, contact a criminal defense attorney  right away.  It is the best way to defend your freedom.