“The Script” – How to Answer Police Questions

Pulled over

“Talking to the police” 

It’s common knowledge you should never admit a crime to the police.  Yet, we see people inadvertently incriminating themselves all the time as soon as they get pulled over.  A friendly dialogue about your day/night ends up becoming evidence.  A case that could have been won, ends up a lost cause.  The police have a script ready when they pull you over.  Shouldn’t you have one too?

The first thing you need to realize is that you are NOT going to outsmart the police.  Especially if you’re not sober.  Police officers are specially trained to get specific pieces of information out of you as efficiently as possible.  Every question has a purpose.  The key to avoiding self-incrimination is to never enter a conversation with the police in the first place.  Memorizing a few sentences to invoke your 5th Amendment right to remain silent is critical.

Silence is Golden

There’s a fine line between appearing uncooperative and being informed about your legal rights.  Tone is everything.   Sounding respectful and coherent while delivering your script could help your case; however, sounding rude and obnoxious will hurt you in front of a jury.   The dialogue should go something like this:

Officer:  Do you know why I pulled you over?

You:  No, I do not.

Officer:  License and Insurance - (you hand it over)

Officer:  So where are you coming from? - (or any other preliminary question)

You:  I’m sorry, but I’ve been advised before not to answer police interrogation questions.

Officer:  Well I smell alcohol on your breath.  How much have you had to drink tonight?

You:  Am I being detained or am I free to go?

Officer:  You’re being detained - (anything other than "you're free to leave")

You:  I’d like to invoke my 5th  Amendment right to silence.

The script is simple: politely refuse to answer questions, ask if you’re being “detained”, invoke the 5th Amendment, and then REMAIN SILENT!  In doing so, you will leave a lot of questions unanswered.  This will give your defense attorney more room to maneuver and more opportunities to create doubt in the minds of jurors.

Final Thoughts

Use your common sense on when to apply the script.  There’s no need to invoke the 5th Amendment when you’re getting pulled over for a traffic ticket.  Save it for more serious matters.  Examples of when to use the script include but are not limited to:

  • Getting pulled over after a few drinks
  • Being stopped while you have illegal items in your possession
  • Confrontations when you are somewhere you shouldn’t be (i.e. trespassing)
  • Domestic Disputes and Assaults

Talking to the police when you’re suspected of criminal activity hardly ever leads to a good outcome.  Remember, silence is golden.  When the police start asking their questions don’t tell them… “I’m coming from a bar” … “my drunkenness level is a 3 on a scale of 1-10” … “I’ve only had two drinks tonight.”  You may think it sounds dumb, but these responses are seen on hundreds of police videos daily.

Do yourself a favor and know what to say when the unexpected happens.  Being prepared can save you from making nervous and incriminating statements.  Silence may not win your case, but it certainly will never hurt you.  Stay safe my friends.

Trouble with the Police?

It's never too late to start your legal defense.  If you or someone you know is worried about police statements then call Third Coast Law today for a free consultation!

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