There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about how you should interact with police officers during an encounter, and not all of it is correct. Believing one of these misconceptions can get you into even more trouble with an officer, so here’s the truth about these common police officer myths.
Officers Can’t Lie
This misconception is most often about undercover cops or sting operations. Many believe that, if you ask a cop if they’re a cop, they have to tell the truth. In reality, cops absolutely can and will lie to you on the job. Their job is to make an arrest, and the law gives them freedom to lie in certain circumstances if it helps them get the job done. A police officer is under no obligation to share their identity with you, especially if giving that information out would compromise the investigation or put them in danger.
I can Talk my Way Out of it
Everything you say to an officer will be used by the prosecution in their case against you. The more you try to smooth-talk your way out of the situation, the more evidence you’re giving to the opposing side. Staying silent is the best way to keep from giving the prosecution that evidence. Police officers are also trained to deal with people who try to talk their way out of trouble, and they’re probably going to see right through you. Make use of your right to remain silent if you find yourself in trouble with the law.
I Don’t Need to Talk at All
This is also incorrect. The right to remain silent means that you don’t have to give any information, other than your name and identification, to an officer. This is to give you protection from incriminating yourself until you can call an attorney to advise you. However, you will need to tell the officer that you wish to use your right to remain silent. Staying completely quiet when they ask you questions is going to annoy the officers, and it isn’t going to make them stop asking questions. Tell the officer you want to stay silent until you have an attorney rather than being totally silent.
I Can’t be Charged if I Didn’t do Anything
The intent to commit a crime is also a crime. Even if you didn’t actually rob a bank, for example, you would still be liable for intending or conspiring to rob a bank if you were found with duffel bags and deadly weapons in your car.
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