An encounter with the police in Houston can either go nicely or end up badly.
If you want to make sure you have a nice experience with the Texas police, you need to know your rights. In addition to knowing your rights, you need to know its limits. Pushing too hard might leave you with handcuffs and a cold, damp cell to pass the night.
Here are some things you should take note of in your interaction with a police officer.
Be Courteous and Non-Confrontational
The tone of your voice and your general behavior will determine how the interaction will go. When you a police officer stops you:
• Show your identification if he requests it.
• Use polite words like “Sir,” Officer, or “Ma’am.”
• When the officer reviews your documents, try to remain calm.
• If the officer gives you a ticket, don’t argue with him. Simply collect the ticket and listen to any other instructions on paying fines or contesting the ticket.
• If the police officer stops you while in a vehicle, pull over, roll down your window, and put your hands on the steering wheel.
• Don’t suddenly reach for your glove compartment for your license. Doing so might make the officer think you’re reaching for a gun.
Refuse Search Requests
You should refuse search requests by the police officer. When a police officer makes a search request, it means he doesn’t have enough evidence to search without your consent.
By giving the police officer permission to search, you are giving up your fourth amendment right to protection from unreasonable searches.
If the police officer brings charges against you while trying to rely on evidence gotten from an illegal search, your attorney can argue that the evidence was found through an illegal search and should be thrown out.
Try to Know if You Can Leave
When a police officer questions you, try to determine if you can leave. Under the fifth amendment of the constitution, you have a right not to answer any police questions.
The only time you are not allowed to leave is if the police officer wants to place you under arrest or detain you.
Remain Silent and Ask for Your Lawyer
In most instances, it is best not to answer any questions till you have a lawyer with you. This is especially true if you have anything to do with a crime:
Anything you say to the police officer can, and will most likely, be used against you.
If you are pressed, say that you will like to remain silent and want to speak to a lawyer.
Don’t Try Bargaining
Most police officers will tell you that things will go easier if you cooperate with them. Don’t agree with this especially without the advice of your lawyer.
The only thing your bargaining/cooperation does is to make the police officer’s work easier.
Don’t be intimidated by the threat of arrest, and ask to speak to a lawyer.
Don’t Offer Physical Resistance
If a police officer decides to proceed with a search or an arrest without your permission, do not physically resist him.
You can state in a non-confrontational way that you do not consent to the search. Or you can decide to say nothing till you meet with an attorney.