Knowing how to talk to the police can be helpful in many different situations, including during a traffic stop and after a car accident. As attorneys, we talk to the police all the time, so Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. has compiled some of the best tips for helping you talk to police officers in different situations:
Helpful Tips for Interacting with the Police
Whenever you interact with police officers, be respectful – even if officers are not being respectful to you. Keep your hands visible at all times, avoid hand gestures, and NEVER run from police officers. If you must move, explain why you are moving and what you are doing.
While you may be nervous, try to stay calm and speak clearly. Answer yes or no questions with a simple ‘yes,’ or ‘no,’ and avoid rambling. Remember that you have rights but wait until after the interaction to address any violations you perceive. Even if you exercise your right to remain silent, you must provide your name to law enforcement officers if you are asked to identify yourself, and if you are pulled over, you must provide your license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance.
Important: although you have the right to bear arms, you must alert the police to any weapons you have. Without moving or pointing, declare the weapon and tell police exactly where it is located.
Should You Talk to the Police After a Car Accident?
Yes. You should always call the police after a car accident, and you should never leave the scene of a crash. In New Hampshire, filing an accident report with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is mandatory for certain accidents, and police officers submit a written report to the DMV every time they respond to a car crash.
Additionally, police reports can be extremely helpful in personal injury lawsuits, so talking to the police will help you in more ways than one.
What Do You Say to Police After a Car Accident?
When you speak to responding officers after a car crash, stick to the facts and be as clear and concise as possible (see the ‘Helpful Tips for Interacting with the Police’ section above). You may be scared and stressed after the accident, but do your best to stay calm. If you need a moment to clear your head, simply ask the police officer you are talking to – but don’t forget to be respectful.
Avoid contradicting yourself or making any speculation about fault. Simply tell the responding officers what happened, write down their badge number if possible, and ask for a copy of the police report when you are finished.
If a police officer asks you about your injuries, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” Some injuries do not become apparent until the adrenaline wears off. Always accept medical treatment if you need it, and don’t downplay any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing.
What If You Are Being Arrested?
If you are arrested, stop talking to police officers immediately. Exercise your right to remain silent and inform them that you will speak when your attorney is present.
Even if you did nothing wrong, the police can use anything you say or do against you.
Please see this helpful article from the New Hampshire ACLU for more about “What To Do If You’re Stopped By Police or Arrested.”
After You Speak to the Police, Call a Lawyer
In some situations, you can interact with the police and continue your day. In others, you may need an attorney to help protect your rights. After a car accident, for example, you should discuss your rights and legal options with an experienced local lawyer, and you should always call a lawyer after an arrest.
If you feel like your rights have been violated, you should also speak to an attorney. Nobody wants to interact with the police, and no one wants to hire a lawyer, but the two situations usually go hand in hand.
Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. handles personal injury cases and criminal defense, so we can help you no matter what you are facing. We have over 100 years of collective experience, and we have been prioritizing clients like you since 1997.
Discuss your case with our respected attorneys today – call us at (603) 288-1403 or contact us online for the personalized service you deserve.