The brave members of Denver’s police force are a big part of the reason why our city is so safe. For most of us, the presence of a police officer can be reassuring — if they’re not writing a ticket! Day to day, it’s not necessary to know when and how to speak to the police.
But every once in a while, it becomes extremely important. And if you’re not careful, what you don’t know about talking to the police could cost you dearly. Understanding what the police want and how they do their job can give a new way of looking at the police — one that’s of vital importance if you ever find yourself in a situation related to a crime.
Here are three things that every Denverite should know about speaking to our city’s finest.
You shouldn’t talk to the police
So how should you talk to the police? Quite frankly, you shouldn’t. This doesn’t mean that you can’t say hello to your police officer neighbor or report a crime that you were the victim of. And it doesn’t mean maintaining a zen-like silence whenever you’re pulled over.
What it means is that you should not chat freely with the police or answer their questions when it is possible that they are investigating a crime. And it is almost always possible that they are investigating a crime, so be wary.
Virtually nothing good for you as an individual can come of you speaking with the police. And a lot of bad things can happen. What you say could put you under suspicion or even become evidence against you, even if you are innocent and telling the truth. And you might not tell the truth: under the pressure of police interrogation tactics, innocent people sometimes confess to crimes they did not commit.
Play it safe: know your rights, know when to say no to the police, and don’t speak to the police without a lawyer.
Be polite to the police
You shouldn’t speak to the police. You shouldn’t yell at them, either. The police don’t have the power to make you talk, but they do have some authority. And mouthing off to them could result in a charge like disorderly conduct or resisting arrest. Sometimes, these charges are justified. Other times, they’re the result of overly sensitive police officers. Either way, they’re a hassle for the accused.
Treat police officers with respect. Good officers deserve it, and bad ones can make your life very difficult if you don’t behave. Show your own integrity, and politely but firmly inform the police that you won’t speak to them. Say no more than you have to, and then clam up.
Don’t start chatting again just because the police act angry or offended. Maintain your politeness and calm, and stay silent (or repeat only that you want to speak with your attorney).
Only communicate with the police through an attorney
Getting a criminal defense attorney is a wonderful and powerful thing. It will make you much more likely to beat a criminal charge or avoid one entirely. Because once you have a lawyer, your communication with the police will come through him or her.
A trained criminal Denver criminal attorney understands how local police investigate crimes and pursue cases here in Colorado. Your attorney can help you know when and if to speak to the police, and what sort of statements to make. You can’t cut a deal without speaking to the police, for instance, but you already know you shouldn’t be doing that yourself. The solution is simple: get a lawyer.