4 Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make After Being Pulled Over or Arrested

Posted on Jan 31, 2020 in Criminal Defense

“License and registration, please.”

“You’re under arrest.”

“You have the right to remain silent…”

If a police officer says these words or makes similar statements to you, it is rarely a good thing. It means you are in the officer’s sights; that he or she believes you have committed a traffic violation or criminal offense. As precarious, uncomfortable, or scary as your current situation may be, you have the power to make it even worse.

If you make poor decisions or allow your emotions or adrenaline to dictate how you act – especially if you believe the officer is in the wrong – you could make the hole you’re in even deeper. Even if you think you’re trying to be helpful by telling the officer “your side of the story,” you may be hurting yourself and your ability to defend yourself against any criminal charges.

So, when those flashing lights appear in your rearview mirror or if an officer is reaching for his handcuffs, keep your head about you, contact our New Orleans criminal defense attorney and avoid these four common mistakes:

Resisting or Fighting Back

It is a sad but true fact – police officers can and do abuse their authority on more occasions that is acceptable. This can be anything from intimidation and verbal abuse, to false statements about the law or your rights, to racial profiling or improper arrests. Such wrongful conduct can also, of course, involve excessive force.

If you are on the receiving end of an officer’s abuse of his power, you have every right to be angry and outraged. Even if you just think the officer was wrong to have pulled you over, searched you, or arrested you, you’re likely to be upset. But now is not the time to express your anger with threats or violence towards the officer. Not only could this result in additional charges against you, but your hostile or abusive conduct can obscure the officer’s bad conduct. There will be a time and place to fight back against an improper arrest or bad acts by the officer. A good criminal defense lawyer may be able to use the officer’s misconduct in your defense, and you may have civil claims for violations of your constitutional rights. But not if you resist arrest or attack an officer.

Trying to Talk Your Way Out of It

You know you have the right to remain silent from watching movies and TV cop shows. If you’re arrested, the officer will remind you of this right again. He or she will also advise you that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

But in your desire to explain yourself and hopefully end your ordeal once the officer understands what really happened, you may forget this important right. The reality is that the more you talk, the greater the chances that you will say or admit something that will implicate you or hurt your defense. As with abusive police conduct, there will be a time and place to tell your story. Don’t speak to police at length about your situation without speaking with a criminal defense lawyer first.

Consenting to a Search of Your Vehicle

There is a reason that a police officer will ask your permission before searching your vehicle: if they don’t get your consent, there is a high likelihood that they have no right to search your car at all. Police only have a right to search your car without your consent under very specific circumstances, such as when they have a search warrant, see or smell illegal goods without a search, or after an arrest.

If you consent to the search, anything the officer finds in your car can and will be used against you. By agreeing to a search, you are unnecessarily giving police and prosecutors a free pass. No matter how lacking in justification the search is and no matter how unreasonable, your consent means you are forfeiting possible defenses that could have been used to defeat any charges brought against you. If an officer asks you whether he or she can search your car, or even if an officer appears to demand that you agree to a search, do not agree to it. Respectfully and politely tell them that you do not consent to a search and always ask for a skilled New Orleans criminal defense attorney.

Representing Yourself

A home improvement project may be a good time to try to “do-it-yourself.” Fighting criminal charges that could cost you thousands of dollars, years of freedom, and a leave stain on your life forever is not. Criminal law is complicated and the rules and procedures are detailed, voluminous, and often hard to understand. Things can move quickly and you can easily get steamrolled straight to a conviction if you don’t know what you’re doing.  There is a reason experience matters so much when choosing a New Orleans criminal defense attorney – it is hard work and there is a lot, often everything, at stake. Now is not the time to try to save a few dollars on attorney’s fees by taking chances with your future or your family.

Speak to a Skilled New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in New Orleans or elsewhere in Louisiana, please contact us. Our experienced New Orleans criminal defense attorneys stand ready to vigorously protect your rights, and will work tirelessly to obtain the best possible result for you during a difficult and scary time. Call 504-599-9997.

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