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What To Do If Contacted By The Police

Posted by Shawn B. Hamp | Mar 26, 2012 | 0 Comments

While every situation and contact with the police is different, it is possible that during your lifetime you may be contacted by the Police during the context of an investigation. You may realize very quickly that you might indeed be the target of that investigation. If this ever happens to you keep the following things in mind, and contact a lawyer at the earliest opportunity.

If you are facing criminal charges in Mohave County, Kingman, Lake Havasu, or Bullhead City, please feel free to contact me at (928) 743-6868 or toll free (866) 490-Hamp.

1. Do NOT agree to searches; absent a valid search warrant.

If you are contacted by the Police whether at your home or on the road during a traffic stop, if a police officer has a “hunch” that criminal activity is afoot, then they will want to search you. Don't let them. An Officer has to have probable cause before they can search your vehicle or request a warrant from an independent magistrate before they can search your home. A “hunch” is not good enough, a police officer must have an articulable suspicion. Just because an officer doesn't like the way you look won't cut it when they have to come to court and explain why they searched your person and personal space without a warrant.

This is what the 4th Amendment is all about to protect you, but if you give CONSENT to an officer then law enforcement will have free reign to trample on your rights. Make the Officer justify the legitimacy of the search, DO NOT CONSENT, no matter how coercive or persuasive the Officer is.

2. Ask to speak to your attorney – call us immediately at 1-866-490-HAMP.

If you are in custody, you have right to speak with an attorney immediately, this is crucial. Once you request an attorney law enforcement must cease asking you questions until you are provided access to one. Denial of an attorney may result in statements being suppressed as evidence or even possible dismissal of a criminal case (including DUI cases under Arizona case-law).

3. The police are NOT your friends; they may try to befriend you; don't fall for it.

Bad things can happen to good people. People can make mistakes. It is human nature for most folks to want to make things right and make amends for their mistakes. Police officers know this. They will tell you anything you want to hear during your most stressful time (being the target of a police investigation) and will use all the undergraduate psychology tricks available to get you to talk and confess to your actions. Don't take the bait.

 4. Don't get into an argument with the police.

Policemen and women aren't robots. They have biases and prejudices like any other person. It is always best to avoid direct confrontation with someone who has complete control and discretion on you during what could be a very tense and stressful situation. Assert your rights, but be respectful.

 5. Remember, anything you say or do can and WILL be used against you.

Most of the time your contact with the police will not be recorded by a video or audio device. There is no guarantee that an accurate recording will be made during your contact with the police. The result is that any statement you make could very likely be misconstrued in supporting the officer's probable cause for arrest.

6. Keep your hands where the police can see them.

Police officers are human and are not Robo-Cops. No need to make an officer jumpy. Odds are they could be just as apprehensive in contacting you as you are by being contacted. Don't give the officer a reason to pull out that taser.

 7. Don't run. Don't touch any police officer.

Never a good idea to run from the police, evidence of flight could be used against you in court. Even recklessly touching an officer might result in a felony assault charge.

 8. Don't resist even if you believe you are innocent.

Don't let a misunderstanding turn into a “resisting arrest” charge.

9. Don't complain on the scene or tell the police they're wrong or that you're going to file a complaint.

Officers in Arizona have total discretion in filing misdemeanor charges against individuals by issuing a traffic/complaint ticket and authority to arrest any individuals in their presence for any offense in which they have probable cause. Many police officers are not above retaliation in issuing citation or arresting individuals.

 10. Write down everything you remember as soon as you are able.

Testimony which is clear and detailed is believable. It might not be clear to you what issues are important during your contact with the police. An attorney at a later date will be able to spot issues which might be critical in any legal challenges involving your contact with the police.

 11. Make a list of witnesses & their phone numbers.

The Government and the State have the burden of proof in criminal proceedings, but the reality is that the burden is always on you to present a viable defense. Gather names and phone numbers of the eyewitnesses for the event and rebut the allegations made against you.

12. If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.

Police brutality may have an impact in the criminal proceedings or a subsequent civil action. Prosecutorial decisions might be impacted if police misconduct is at issue.

If you have been arrested for DUI or criminal charges in Mohave County contact the Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp, for a Free Case Evaluation at (928) 753-6868. Speak directly with experienced Arizona criminal Defense and DUI Defense Attorney and Shawn B. Hamp (Former Prosecutor).

The Law Office of Shawn B. Hamp is focused to defending DUI, Drug & criminal charges in Arizona, within Northwestern Arizona and Mohave County including the cities of Kingman, Bullhead City, and Lake Havasu City Arizona.

This post was intended to provide general information only and is not intended as specific legal advice. You should not rely upon this information alone, but should consult legal counsel regarding the application of the laws and regulations discussed and as applied to your specific case or circumstances.

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About the Author

Shawn B. Hamp

President and lead counsel for The Hamp Law Offices, LLC (An Arizona Professional Corporation), Shawn Hamp has practiced law for more than 15 years with an emphasis in criminal law. An experienced trial attorney, Mr. Hamp has been lead counsel in hundreds of criminal trials and court...


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