Speaking to the police is stressful for anyone, regardless of whether you think you did anything wrong. In these interactions, they often have the upper hand – they know a lot of tricks and strategies you may not, and they can be incredibly intimidating.
Under these circumstances, it is crucial to watch what you say. Many convictions result from statements people make to police, so avoid saying the following problematic things to officers.
“You’re a jerk.”
One of the quickest ways to escalate an interaction with an officer is to be rude or insulting. Making snide comments, calling the officer names or being vulgar does little more than make an officer mad.
While they wouldn’t necessarily arrest you for antagonizing them, they could arrest you for inciting a fight or disorderly conduct.
“Sure, you can search my car.”
Even if you think you have nothing to hide, the fact is that warrantless searches of your car can lead to big problems you didn’t anticipate. Police could find a suspicious powder that is ultimately harmless or stolen property someone else left in your vehicle. In either case, you could wind up arrested.
To avoid any of these complications, remember that you can refuse a warrantless search.
“Come on in.”
Just like allowing police to search your car can be unwise, so can letting police into your home without a warrant. If officers show up at your door – without a warrant – you have the right to say no if they ask to come inside.
You should still comply with their orders if the police enter your home without permission. Arguing with them will likely be unproductive at that time, so focus on staying safe and noting their statements and actions. Doing so can help you contest any arrests or charges that may arise.
“Let me clear this up.”
It can be tempting to talk to the police when they ask to speak with you. You may want to explain your side of the story or give them information that you think is helpful. However, you do not need to talk to officers – even if they say it’s in your best interests to speak to them or claim that refusing to talk makes you look guilty.
Rather than making any of these statements, perhaps the best thing you can say is, “I want to talk to my attorney.”