brian sloan profile picture

When Stopped By The Police, How Do You Stay Out of Trouble?

The worst thing someone could do is talk to the police. This would be a lot harder for someone who might have been flailing their arms around while driving. They might have been rocking up to their music when all of a sudden they got pulled over because the officer suspected the person might have been driving on a suspended license or driving under the influence.

People do not realize that talking and answering questions might end up hurting them, and the more they talk, the more likely it would be for them to be arrested. People who understand their constitutional rights and who able to protect themselves are the ones who set themselves up in the best position to be released or, if a case was filed against them, they would be in a better position to possibly get a better plea agreement or come to a point where the case was dismissed or they were found not guilty.

What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make?

It is never a good idea to lie to a police officer whereas it would be a good idea for the person to invoke their constitutional right to remain silent and simply not answer the officer’s questions. It tends to hurt people the most when the officer inevitably asks the very likely question of whether the person knew why they were pulled over. People often answer that question by admitting they were speeding or ran at red light, whereas they would have just admitted to a crime or at least a civil traffic violation.

People do not realize it could end up hurting them if they told the officer they understood why they were stopped, because it would be very likely they would get a citation at that point no matter what. It often also hurts people when they mention they know their license is suspended.

As part of Arizona law, either for an aggravated DUI or for the charge of driving on a suspended license, the prosecutor would have to prove that the person knew or had reasons to know their license was suspended. It would make the prosecutors case that much better if the officer asked someone and then that person freely admitted they knew their license was suspended.

Another mistake that people commonly make is when they admit to having consumed alcohol. Probably the most damning thing would be when an officer asked someone to rate themselves on the scale from 0 to 10, or a scale of 1 to 10, with 0 or 1 being completely sober and 10 meaning falling down drunk, with regards to how they rated themselves at the time of driving. The answer to this question can be extremely damning, because the prosecutor would only have to prove that the person was driving while impaired to even the slightest degree by the consumption of the alcohol.

Someone who admitted to feeling impaired to even the slightest degree by the consumption of alcohol, by rating themselves a number on the scale, would basically be admitting to the biggest element that the prosecutor would be trying to prove in front of the jury, because it would make it a lot easier for a jury to find someone guilty on the basis that the person rated themselves even slightly impaired on the scale, meaning the person had themselves admitted they were impaired to the slightest degree, which is why rating oneself on that scale would be the thing that would hurt the most.


Could Someone Get In More Trouble If They Let The Officer Know They Were Upset About Being Pulled Over?

Yes, this could happen. I recently had a client who believed it was inappropriate for the officer to pull him over and to ask him to step out of the vehicle for a DUI investigation, so he wrapped himself in the steering wheel, requiring the officer to pepper spray him in the face and then drag him out of vehicle. Officers expect compliance with their orders, so although it can be noted if someone felt it was not appropriate for them to be pulled over, it would not make the officer just go away.

People would probably not want to take it to the point where they were getting pepper sprayed in the face or they had to be taken down to the ground and handcuffed. The police officers would use any means necessary to gain compliance from someone who was not fully complying with their orders. They would not just go away because someone was not willing to comply with their orders because they would get the person to comply with their orders one way or another even if that meant taking the person down to the ground and handcuffing them.

There is a crazy case law out there, and there was one case that just seemed absolutely ridiculous, where the court upheld that a person was convicted for resisting arrest. The question arose under what authority the police were trying to arrest the person in the first place, for which they had resisted, but the court said it was perfectly fine for someone to be convicted of resisting arrest on the grounds of committing the crime of resisting arrest, even if there was no underlying crime other than resisting arrest, so the person could be arrested for anything.

A person would expect that they would need to be arrested for some sort of crime before they could be charged with resisting that arrest but in that case, the underlying crime was resisting arrest.

Would It Be Considered An Admission Of Guilt If The Person Rated Themselves A 1 Or 2 On The Scale?

This hurts a lot of people, although I do understand where they would be coming from. People feel that because they had actually consumed some alcohol, they should not rate themselves a zero or a one, if that was the lowest number.

The issue in this case would not be about lying, it would be about the person utilizing their constitutional right to remain silent and simply not answering the questions. The person should not provide the police officers evidence which they could use against them and they need to not give the prosecutors evidence to use against them, which is why people need to invoke their constitutional right to remain silent.

For more information on How To Get In Trouble With the Police, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling 480-900-0384 today.

city view

Call me today for an
‘In Depth’ Free Consultation

brian sloan profile picture
Brian Douglas Sloan


Free Initial

small mail icon
Email address:
small location icon
2 N. Central Ave Suite 1929
Phoenix, AZ 85004
triangle pattern