Updated: Aug 11, 2022
Encounters with law enforcement can be stressful and sometimes have life altering consequences. Much of the best advice with how to behave when interacting with the police is not going to be what you see on TV. Rather, it will come from your lawyer. Remember to treat the police with respect, be polite, and most importantly, remember your rights and don't be afraid to exercise them.
Our most experienced criminal defense attorney is Larren Covert. He has been practicing in Eastern Idaho for nearly 20 years. During that time he has been on both sides of the criminal case, working initially as a prosecutor and transitioning over to criminal defense. In this video, he shares some of his thoughts about the best way to handle any encounter with law enforcement.
Remember, exercising your rights, such as the right to remain silent, does not make you look guilty. The police can take anything that you say or do and use it against you in a court of law. You have a Constitutional right to remain silent in an encounter with law enforcement. Almost every time, it will benefit your case to exercise that right. Even if you are arrested, you are still entitled to your rights, and until you speak with an attorney, it is up to you to ensure that your rights are protected.
Once you speak with an attorney, they will advocate for you. It is their job to make sure that your rights stay protected and to prevent your rights from being violated. A good attorney will work your case, examine all the evidence, and protect your rights.
It's important to remember that hiring an attorney will never guarantee that you will get off free of all charges. If you have been arrested, it is rare that you will be found completely innocent and have your record wiped clean. The most recommended strategy of a criminal defense attorney is that they will mitigate the charges and the penalty as far as they can.
Generally, negotiating with the prosecutor is going to be the first step and see what sort of agreement can be made. The next will be to examine the evidence. Examining the evidence entails reviewing the police report, anything obtained by police, and watching the body cam footage of the police officers on the scene. Many attorneys will not examine the body cam footage, but it can sometimes go as far as making or breaking your case.
Remember, if the police find a compelling reason to arrest, they will. The best way have a peaceful encounter with the police will mean to be polite and respectful. Don't be rude. Don't be suspicious. If you are arrested, that is something that can stay on your record forever even if the charges are dismissed. It is also important to remember that the police want a peaceful encounter as well. They have a difficult job and they are just trying to do the best they can.