Dealing with the police can be very intimidating. Many of us have never had an encounter with law enforcement, some of us have had several encounters, and many of us have maybe once or twice. Either way, every driver or pedestrian should know what to do when they are stopped by a police officer. Naturally you may feel incredibly nervous. Even though the police are in place to protect and serve, you never know what could happen. The same goes for law-enforcement. Every encounter with a stranger that may involve a criminal offense that is taking place can be very nerve-racking. A simple traffic stop can lead to a heap of trouble for the individuals involved.
There are a few things that can make the encounter less frightening and go over as smooth as possible.
- Be respectful and pull over to a safe space as soon as possible. If you are on foot, stop as soon as you are asked. By showing the officer that you are in no way trying to avoid a conversation or to at least see what the officer may want to speak about, this opens up a level of comfort for both parties.
- Be sure to keep your hands visible to the officer. When in a vehicle the officer is unaware of what may be in your reach. This creates safety for the officer and also for you so that nothing is misinterpreted.
- Answer the questions that are asked. The most basic questions may simply be your name and where you are going. Other questions simply just answer “yes” or “no.” This is to avoid any confusion and incriminating yourself.
- If you have a weapon or a gun let the officer know, especially if it is legal to carry. Do not reach for anything unless you are asked.
- Do not allow the officer to search you. Many people do not know that they did not have to allow this. A warrant is usually required unless there is something in plain sight.
Every encounter may be different, and some may be the same. Either way, there is a certain way to handle your dealings with law enforcement to ensure the best possible outcome. If you have any other questions be sure to speak with an attorney, like a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta, GA from The Lynch Law Group, to discuss what is and is not legal and what is and is not advised.
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