There are many types of interactions that you may run into in regards to the police. These three levels of police interaction under the Fourth Amendment include a mere encounter, investigative detention, and custodial detention. Here are the various levels, explained:

  • Mere Encounter: This type of encounter involved an informal or formal police-citizen interaction, but can also contain police questioning. The person in question is typically seen as “free to go.”
  • Investigative Detentions & Reasonable Suspicion: This encounter does require an official compulsion to stop and respond. If there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity by the police, then the person is not free to go as they would be in a mere encounter.
  • Custodial Detentions & Probable Cause: This is possibly the greatest intrusion. This type of encounter is very similar to an actual arrest after probable cause has been determined.

So, you may ask, how do you handle a police interaction? What should you do and say? What shouldn’t you say? We will help you through the many types of interactions and what to expect.

What to do When You See the Police and After a Stop

Police car in pursuitWhen you see a police car with its siren blaring or lights flashing behind you, you should quickly but safely come to a complete stop in a safe place on the side of the road. If you stop as soon as possible, you will have a better chance of figuring out where you may have disobeyed the laws of the road. This will be helpful in the event that you have to contact an attorney later on. If you pull over successfully and obey the rules of the road, the officer will probably be kinder to you.

After you have pulled over, you should turn off your vehicle, roll your window down all the way and turn on your interior light if you are in the dark. Officers have been killed in the past by aggravated criminals in pullover incidents, which is why you should show courtesy because an officer sees this as a potential danger. Always remain in your vehicle unless the officer tells you otherwise and never reach for any important information unless the officer asks.

Conversing With an Officer

You should never be hostile when you are communicating with an officer and let the officer talk when he wants to talk. You should listen to everything the officer has to say and obey what he asks of you, such as presenting your license and proof of registration. It may be difficult to find out whether or not an officer is going to give you a ticket based solely on your initial encounter; however, if you are courteous there is a good chance that they will not hit you with everything they possibly can.

There are many reasons why you may want an experienced attorney to help you if you have come in contact with a police officer. Let’s say that you believe an illegal search has been conducted by a police officer – in this case, you will want to talk to an attorney about your case. Call us today if you have had an unlawful police interaction and need our help. At The Law Office of Peter Blair, we work to help you with your case.