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When you should (and shouldn’t) call the police, according to trial lawyers

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Conventional Internet wisdom is clear about when to call the police. There’s a lot to be said for this philosophy, but the internet is often very wrong. teeth It’s satisfying to tell a cop to fuck you instead of saying “yes, cop”, but how well does it actually work?

I spoke with a Chicago trial attorney. Harold Wolin to get the answer. With her more than 25 years of experience focused on defending DUI cases, Wallin has seen every conceivable type of interaction between police and citizens. She found that there were many times when it was surprisingly a better idea to call the police rather than pretend.

When to refuse to answer police questions

“Never call the police if you suspect a crime,” Wallin said. “If a potential client calls and says, ‘I want the police to come to the station to clean something up,’ that means they want a confession.”

Cops have a lot of leeway when it comes to interrogation and are generally good at tripping people up using methods that aren’t honest. “They’ll say, ‘Look, here’s a thick file. I know all that happened. I know what happened, so if you don’t lie and give me a full statement of everything, things will be easier.”They don’t know what happened. It’s just a guess, it’s a technique the police often use and it’s perfectly legal,” he added.

Even if you are innocent and tell the police the complete truth, it can come back to haunt you. , it might turn out to be thinking about another day, your friend was at work that day, and now, unintentionally, you’re saying, “A falsehood that can be used against you.” “You could also be at the mercy of what the police put in the report. They were writing the summary report and they were giving verbatim statements.” If not, or if it’s not on record, it may or may not … In general, lawyers don’t want their clients to make statements.”

So if you suspect a serious crime, don’t talk to the police, and if you’ve been arrested, talk to a lawyer.

But what if it’s not so serious? Many of the police’s interactions with citizens are routine and don’t require handcuffs or a lawyer. It’s these more general run-ins where the “say nothing” advice doesn’t always apply.

When (and why) you sometimes should do it respond to police

Details vary from state to state, but even in the most cop-friendly parts of the country, citizens generally don’t have to do much more than provide proof of ID and insurance and register with a police officer at a traffic stop. In general, there is no obligation to assist police investigations, to be nice to officers, or to do anything other than obey lawful orders.Still, yelling “I know my rights, pig” is probably not the best thing to do if you’re pulled over. right Sure you say it, but in practice it probably won’t work, especially if your goal is to get through the encounter as quickly as possible.

“It’s factual,” says Wallin. “If you’re speeding in traffic, they’ll give you a ticket, but if you’re taking your pregnant wife to the hospital or have some other reasonable excuse. , they might give you a ticket.Warning…be nice to them and you might get a break.”

“Usually they use these stops as another means of fishing. Or if they don’t have a weapon in the car, if they’re a parked driver, or if they’re intoxicated,” Wallin said. “If you get pulled over because he’s 65 and he’s 75 and now you’re acting very evasive and weird and refusing to talk to them, yeah Yes, that would raise the level of suspicion.”

An evasive or belligerent attitude will come under more scrutiny. According to Wallin, a stern plea not to speak to the police “could be evidence in court…at least as a sign of guilt and could be used against you in general.” belligerence – not necessarily to prove a case against a person, but as an indication that the person may have felt guilty and unwilling to speak.

Also, if you witness a crime, you should contact the police. This is because they are good people. And if what you see is material, authorities may force you to testify in court. “It’s kind of your job as a citizen to tell them what happened,” Wallin said.

about it sometimes how you refuse to talk to the police

If for some reason you refuse to answer the officer’s questions, how you do it is important.Again, literally everything You say you can use it against you. “[If you’re pulled over for a DUI] Don’t say, “I’ve been drunk and driven three times before and my lawyer told me not to call the police if this happens again.” I don’t want to talk about it” and don’t add it. why you don’t want to talk

Cops are people and people are different

Nothing in the law says anything about you Have You have to consider Quisling’s human nature to act as the state’s enforcement agency, but then your life will probably be easier. “They have different personalities. There are also experts. Others may take it personally and think, “You are the enemy.” Whether you cooperate or not, keep that in mind and respond accordingly.

When you should (and shouldn’t) call the police, according to trial lawyers

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