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8 Things You Should Know When Being Questioned by Law Enforcement

If you have been brought in for questioning by the authorities in Arizona, there are things that you need to know how to protect yourself. Read on for eight things that you should know when you are being questioned by Arizona law enforcement. Of course, it is recommended to request to speak with your lawyer before questioning by law enforcement.

Common law enforcement branches can include:

  • Local Police / County Sheriff’s Office
  • FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigations
  • DEA – Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Homeland Security (including Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

1. Knowing the Type of Questioning.

It is very important that you know the type of questioning that you face. Each one will have different rights for both you and the officer.

  • Voluntary encounters. This is where you have not been arrested. These are consensual between you and the police officer(s). The officer may not search you at any point, and you can choose to end the encounter whenever you wish.
  • Investigative detention. This is where you are stopped and are investigated. You can be frisked, but the encounter should be brief, lasting no longer than 30 minutes.
  • During an arrest, your rights will be limited. The office is required to read you your rights. If your Miranda Rights were not read to you, that is grounds for a solid defense. You will be required to show ID, frisked, and taken to jail in most cases.

The questioning officer has to have evidence to detain you for investigative detentions. He cannot detain you without any form of suspicion. Just because you think it is not reasonable, chances are that it is under Arizona law. Some common behaviors will be grounds for the police officer to have suspicions, and most courts will agree with that fact.

In order to search you or your car, or arrest you, the police officer must have probable cause. This is a bit more demanding of the police officer, but an officer can meet this with no problem. If you are being questioned, do not hesitate to ask the officer to explain why.

2. Are you free to leave?

Many arrests come from intimidation or trickery by the police. A police officer does not have to be honest with you. They may say that they saw you doing something. This is in the hopes that you will confess to the wrongdoing so that they can arrest you or have your consent to a search. They cannot, however, deny you a response if you ask if you are free to leave.

The officer cannot keep you from leaving if he does not have probable cause or suspicion. If the police officer has no evidence or not enough evidence, you are free to leave. If the officer tells you that you are indeed free to leave, do so immediately.

3. Asking if You are Under Arrest

If the officer tells you that you are not allowed to leave, ask if you are under arrest. If you are under investigative detention, you will find that you have more rights than when you do when you are under arrest. Getting arrested is the worst scenario for you. If the officer can arrest you, he will have probable cause for search warrants. If you have something hidden, this will be found.

4. Do Not Consent

No matter the situation, you do not want to consent to anything. If you give consent, the cop will have more rights than you. He can come into your home and do whatever he or she wants. Once they are given an opening, they will take that opening and go with it.

Giving consent will allow the officer the chance to see or observe something that could raise the evidence against you. That is why you should avoid voluntarily consenting to anything. The officer may try to tell you that you have no choice, but they are wrong. Do not consent to anything at all.

5. Should you talk when getting questioned?

You have heard that anything you say can be used against you in the court of law, so you know that you should be quiet as much as possible. The less that you talk, the less you are able to give the cop any shred of evidence of any wrongdoing. Cops have the uncanny ability to get confessions out of people. This gives them the opportunity to dig further and get more evidence. This could lead with you going to jail. Talk minimally to the police officer, so that you do not end up in a jail cell.

6. Why you should be confident

One of the most important things that you can do when getting questioned by law enforcement in Arizona, is to remain confident. If you are not confident, you may slip up and give the officer evidence. Officers will trick, confuse, and intimidate you into doing something to expose yourself.

Know enough about your rights so that you can respond to any questioning. The more you know, the quicker that you can get away from the police officer without any problems. Remember that you do not have to answer the questions, nor do you have to commit to any searches.

7. Understanding Tactics

A police officer uses the tactics in questioning that he or she have been trained with. You will need to familiarize yourself with these tactics, so you will be prepared for it. Here are some of the tactics you may face:

  • Incriminating evidence. Arizona officers may tell you they have incriminating evidence against you when they do not. Do not believe them.
  • Search consent and answering questions. You will be asked to allow the cop to search you and question you. Do not allow them. This will not improve your situation. It will only allow them to find more evidence against you.
  • Many police officers will do what they can to try and bribe you with the old let me help you, or we want you to be on our side. They cannot promise you any kind of special treatment. They try and trick you. Pay close attention to what they say. If they imply, they will help you, they will not, and it is one of the oldest tricks they do. The best thing you can do is to stay silent and ask to leave.
  • Staying silent. An officer may tell you that if you refuse to speak or refuse to be searched, it shows incriminating evidence. This is not true. Tell the officer that it is your protected right to refuse.
  • Casual questions. Watch out for casual questions. Like acting as they believe you, but then asking if they can look around. Saying yes, they can, will give the police officer consent to do whatever they want. This may lead to the officer finding evidence against you.

8. Hiring a Defense Lawyer

If you have been questioned or arrested by Arizona law enforcement, you need to call our legal criminal defense team immediately. We will help you to analyze your case, as well as help you know all of your rights. Allowing us to help you will allow us to protect your constitutional rights, and help you maintain your freedom.

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About the Author

Shane Seaton is a highly qualified and dedicated Charleston Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer who can help you in your time of need.