Everyone thinks they have what it takes to avoid being tricked by the police during a traffic stop or sticky situation. But the truth is — under pressure, most people fall for police tactics quickly and unknowingly incriminate themselves once an officer gets friendly and starts offering up vague promises.
While some police officers may go easier on people who are honest about very minor offenses, your best bet is to say as little as possible and exercise your right to remain silent.
If you’re not sure what to look out for, the Houston criminal defense attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm have your back. Here are the top 4 ways police can trick you into giving them what they want.
1. “This will all be a lot easier if you just tell me the truth”
It’ll be easier alright, but only for the police.
When police believe you’re up to something illegal but can’t quite prove it, they might make it seem like everything will be okay if you just give them what they’re looking for. However, this is almost never the case.
If you “make things easier” by just flat out telling the cops that you have a small bag of cocaine in the trunk or that you had a few shots earlier before driving home, the only thing you’ve simplified is the gathering of probable cause. Once you’ve told the officer what they were hoping to hear and they’ve located the evidence based on your admission, it’s highly likely that you’ll be promptly handcuffed and taken to jail.
In general, vague promises like these should be waved off. That’s not to say police officers can’t be cool or reasonable, but it’s not exactly the safest bet to take when your freedom is on the line. Make it harder for them by holding your ground and let your lawyer figure out the rest.
2. “If I have to search, things are gonna be a whole lot worse.”
This one is a straight-up lie. Prosecutors cannot enhance your charges if you refuse a search, if drug-sniffing dogs had to get involved, or if they had to call in for a warrant. If the police decide to call in the drug-sniffing dogs or make you wait by the side of the road while they obtain a warrant, the only “additional offense” you’ve committed is irritating the police officer who was hoping you’d serve them evidence on a silver platter.
If a police officer does threaten further measures in order to obtain a warrant, let them. In some instances, their efforts could wind up invalidating the stop altogether. As decided in Rodriguez v. United States, police officers cannot unreasonably detain you without sufficient evidence. If they call the dogs and the K-9 unit takes 45 minutes to show up, the unreasonable length of the traffic stop could potentially render the search unconstitutional. As a result, any evidence discovered could be deemed inadmissible.
In the end, it’s worth standing up for your fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, no matter how much a police officer may try to convince you otherwise.
3. “You help me, I’ll help you”
Are you noticing a pattern here? Police officers don’t want to spend more time than necessary earning a small arrest or conviction, and they will gladly take any help you’re willing to give them. They also know that fear can wear a person down quickly. Because of this, when it seems like someone is throwing you a life raft in a frightening situation, it can be tempting to take it.
Unfortunately, by the time you’re arrested, the most “help” you’ll get in return for your easy confession is an orange jumpsuit to keep you warm while you wait on bail. In some cases, confessions, pleas, and information can result in lesser sentencing or even dismissal of charges, but that’s something for your lawyer to work out with the prosecutor — not you and a detective or an arresting officer.
If a police officer tries to tell you something like, “Just be honest with us and we’ll make sure the prosecutor knows to go easy on you”, ignore them. This is not a guarantee, and nothing about those kinds of vague promises will be enforceable later. Plead the 5th and let your lawyer figure out who will be handing out favors and when.
4. “Why do you need a lawyer if you’ve done nothing wrong?”
This one really ticks us off. The right to legal representation in the face of criminal accusations is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, and anyone who tries to convince you to waive that right does not have your best interests in mind.
Hiring a lawyer does not “make you look guilty”, nor can it be used against you by the prosecution should your case go to trial. As we’ve established above, police officers have a slew of tricks at their disposal that can make going it alone dangerous for your case. In fact, it’s not unheard of for people to unintentionally “confess” to crimes they didn’t commit due to dishonest offers and misleading questioning. Whether you know you’re guilty or you’re 100% innocent, hiring a lawyer is absolutely essential if you are accused or even suspected of a criminal offense.
Let the Super Lawyers at Thiessen Law Firm do the talking
If you find yourself accused of a crime, there are two steps you should take immediately:
- Exercise your 5th amendment right to remain silent
- Call the Houston defense attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm to help you
Whether you’re facing your first DWI in Texas or you’re facing an aggravated assault charge, retaining aggressive defense as early as possible is the best decision you can make toward protecting your rights and your freedom.
Thiessen Law Firm’s Mark Thiessen is Triple Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, DWI Defense Law by the National College for DWI Defense, and DWI Law by the DWI Defense Lawyers Association. He also has won over 100 Not Guilty verdicts for his clients (Class B Misdemeanor to First Degree Felony) and 1000s of dismissals!
Don’t answer another question without talking to us first. Call 713-864-9000 or contact us online today to set up a free consultation.
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