Know Your Rights
The Dumbest Things People Tell Cops (And What to Say Instead)
Let’s face it, there’s nothing fun about dealing with the cops. Whether you’re being pulled over for a speeding ticket or a DWI, an unexpected police encounter is guaranteed to cost you time and a lot of money. So when you see the red and blue lights flashing in your rear-view mirror, it’s only natural to try and come up with an excuse to end the situation smoothly. The problem with this? Lies and excuses just make things worse. Before you start running your mouth, make sure you leave these losing tactics out of your playbook.
“I Was Barely Speeding!”
Just about every time you get pulled over and accused of speeding, you can expect to take this one question pop quiz: “Do you have any idea how fast you were going?”
There are many wrong ways to answer this question, but the most common mistake you can make is to try and defend yourself by claiming that you were just barely speeding. If you know the speed limit was 35 and you say, “I was only going 45!” then congratulations, you’ve just confessed to speeding! “I don’t know,” and “I didn’t see the sign” isn’t that much better; they could land you a citation for “failure to obey traffic signs.”
Though there is no perfect answer to this question, you do have some options. When in doubt, what you can say is that you thought you were going the speed limit, but your best bet is to say nothing definitive one way or the other.
“Oh! Those Are My Friend’s Drugs!”
Yeah, nice try. If you’re the only person in your vehicle when a cop pulls you over and finds drugs, they aren’t going to truly care whose drugs these belong to. In the state of Texas, knowingly carrying drugs, whether they’re yours or someone else’s, legally qualifies as a possession.
If you see an officer pull a baggie of cocaine out from under the passenger seat of your car, remain silent. It could pay off in the long run. Admitting that you knew drugs were in your car will not make your day in court any easier. Don’t say anything that implies you knew the drugs were in your vehicle and refuse to answer questions until you speak to your lawyer.
“Just a Few Beers, Officer”
“Have you been drinking this evening?” is one of the worst questions you can be asked on the side of the road. Unfortunately, there’s only one answer to this question that’s even semi-decent: “No.” If you have been drinking but you only had one beer several hours ago, then saying no is still a perfectly acceptable way to go.
On the other hand, if you’ve been doing Jäger Bombs for the better part of the evening and at all skeptical about legal sobriety, don’t say “I’ve just had a couple’a beers!” You’re essentially telling the officer, “Yes, I am drunk! Please arrest me for DWI.” Your attempt to downplay the situation becomes something like a confession, and that admission to drinking can make test results much harder to fight in court.
Instead, invoke your right to remain silent. Comply with the officer’s orders by presenting ID and registration, but use your right to avoid self-incrimination.
Your Best Catchphrase? “I’d Like to Speak to a Lawyer.”
Unfortunately, sometimes your best option is to make the most of the hand you’re dealt. In most cases, that means remain silent and calling your attorney as soon as possible.
If you’re facing criminal charges in Houston, Mark Thiessen and the team at Thiessen Law Firm are the only people you’ll want to have in your corner. Mark’s trial-tested battle strategies have helped his clients beat charges from DWI to Assault, and he can help you to do the same. For quality legal defense that doesn’t stop fighting until justice has been served, save (713) 999-3959 into your phone, or contact us for a free consultation today!