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5 Ways to Outsmart the Police

By January 7, 2024February 12th, 2024Criminal Defense, Illegal Search, Illegal Stop

From lying straight to your face to wasting your time, here are five police secrets they’re hiding from you. Police officers can lie.

I had a client who received a phone call from a detective saying that he wanted to just ask him a couple of questions about a theft investigation. You know, he said, look, man, if you just give me a call, let’s have a conversation and let’s sit down and talk it through. I’ll cut you loose after I get a few of those answers from you.  Well, of course, my client initially before he called me decided, OK, I’m going to start having a conversation with the detective. He goes over and starts talking to him. The first thing the detective starts doing is asking him question, but then that leads to an interrogation where the officer says, hey, look, man, I already know what happened.  In reality. I already have a video of you stealing the trailer. It would all be better for you if you just admitted to what you did wrong.  Well, the client of course freaked out and immediately he stopped the interview, he picked up the phone, and he called me.  The police can legally lie to you about almost anything to get you to talk. Don’t fall for it! Don’t say anything! Remember, even if you try to give innocent answers to questions that they give to you, it can be twisted and turned. Look, if they want to try to say you did something wrong. If you start opening your mouth, they’ll find a way to try to prove you did.

What they also don’t want you to know is that the police are constantly fishing for evidence.  A man called me a few months ago seeking legal services. He was completely frustrated. In fact, he called me and he said, look, man, I have this detective. He keeps calling me all the time and he asked me the same questions over and over again. And I don’t really know how to handle it anymore. In fact, I’m getting to the point now that I don’t know whether to call him back. Do I need to get an attorney involved?  I explained to the man that, at this point, it sounded to me like the detective was really starting to fish for more evidence to try to get him in trouble, so he retained us. One of the first things we did is we called the detective.  We said, this is Hampton law firm, and I want you to understand we represent this person. They’re now our client and under his Sixth Amendment rights, you have no right to speak to him moving forward.  He exercises his fifth Amendment right, but if you’ve got questions, we’re here to help. In fact, why don’t you tell me what’s going on? And I’ll share some information with you. See, the reality of it was the detective didn’t want to talk to us anymore. The reason why is because he knew everything that we said, as the criminial defense attorneys in Fort Worth, now at this point was hearsay. He wanted to continue to question our client because if he could get him to keep opening his mouth, he could be able to twist and turn the statements that he made to try to fit the narrative of what he was going after. So, what’s the rule here? Remember, the police either have enough evidence to move forward, or they don’t. If they don’t, don’t try to help them do their job. Let it lie where it is, because I’ll tell you what happened in the example I just gave you.  In that situation, from that point forward, not only did they not reach out to my client, but at that point they dropped everything, because they had nothing else to go after moving forward.  Police officers are required to have probable cause to arrest you. If they’re asking you questions, there’s a good chance they don’t have enough evidence to arrest you already. So, as a result of that, exercise your 6th Amendment right to counsel and, by all means, exercise your 5th amendment right to be quiet and shut up. Don’t say another word to the police.

The next thing the police won’t always tell you is that you always have the right to remain silent. Remember, cops are trained to try to act like they are your friend. They act like they only want to ask you a few questions. As they start to ask you questions, many times, they’ll do it in a way to try to make you feel comfortable so that you’ll open up and talk more. When in doubt, shut your mouth. The worst thing to do is to start talking to this officer when he is clearly trying to ask you questions and it looks like you’re a potential suspect or even a witness to a potential crime. The reality of it is that you always have that Fifth Amendment right, even when officers say, “hey, right now you don’t have a right to a lawyer or hey, right now I’m not going to arrest you, buddy. What are you trying to hide? We have a couple of questions for you.” Don’t fall for that mess when they start telling you that you don’t have rights. That’s the time when siren alarms need to go off.  The fact that you might have some rights that they’re trying to lie to you about, remember, they don’t have to tell you the truth in this situation, but you always have the right to remain silent. Don’t talk if you don’t have to.

The police, also, won’t tell you there’s a Fifth Amendment loophole. There was a case once where a citizen started talking to the police and then he became uncomfortable during the conversation, so he just immediately went silent. The police kept asking him questions and then, come to find out, the police tried to write it down to interpret that his silence meant that he was somehow guilty of what they were saying. You know, the crazy thing about this is the police in this case proceeded forward, the district attorney’s office proceeded forward, and even the Supreme Court ruled that if you start speaking to the police and then you remain silent, that silence could be used as an implicit admission to what the police are asking you. So, what does that mean? That means, if you started talking to the police, you better make sure and speak up by saying I wish to remain silent. I will not answer any questions and then stay silent. Otherwise, if you start talking and then you remain silent, they could try to use your silence against you. I know it sounds like some rule kids made-up on a playground, but the Supreme Court literally said if you want to exercise your right to remain silent, you have to say “I wish to remain silent.” In fact, the US Supreme Court said something strange. They said you don’t automatically invoke your right to staying silent by being silent. In fact, there are other cases that are out there where someone was silent for hours. They literally didn’t say a word during police interrogation for hours and then all of a sudden they started to speak up. Now, because they started to speak up, their statements were able to be used against them.  You want to know why? Because the police said, and the Supreme Court said, they did not say “I wish to remain silent”.  You should always announce your right to remain silent, that you’re invoking the 5th Amendment right, and shut up.

You can ignore the police, mostly. I was a passenger in a car one time when the driver of the car got pulled over. The police pulled him over, got him out of the car, and started asking him questions.  Then, started then asking a bunch of questions related to what was in the car, asking if he could then search the car.  In the process of asking him all of those questions, of course the driver said “no, there’s nothing going on in my car and you can’t search my car.” Well, that irritated the police, so they continued to hold him and we were sitting there for about thirty minutes. The police then went back, checked something in his car, then he came forward and started talking to him again. After a while I was like, OK, he asked to search the car, he’s asking all these other questions, so I leaned over and I told my buddy, “hey man, ask the officer. Are you detained Or are you under arrest?” That’s exactly what he did. He turned around, he looked at the officers, and he said  “Officer, am I detained or am I under arrest?” The officer said, “no, you’re not being detained. You’re not under arrest.” I then told him, “let’s get in the car and let’s go.” That’s exactly what happened. He said, “OK, officer, I appreciate it. We’re done here.” He got in the car, we got in, we started the car, and we drove away. Literally, the officer did nothing after that. Why does that matter? Because an officer can’t just hold you as long as he wants. You never have to just sit there for as long as the police want to hold you, if you’re not being detained or you’re not under arrest. If you want to dive deeper into exactly what you should do if you get pulled over, check out this video and I’ll see you over there.