Most people hope to avoid finding themselves in a position where the police want to ask them questions. When the police approach you for questioning, your understanding of your rights and knowledge of what not to do can make a difference in how events unfold.
Interactions with law enforcement can be stressful and confusing, particularly if you do not know what to expect. While every situation may be unique, there are some general guidelines about what to avoid when facing police questioning in Colorado.
Speaking without understanding your rights
You have rights, and you need to understand them. One of the primary rights to keep in mind is the 5th Amendment right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions, especially if you feel they might incriminate you. When in doubt, it is a good idea to politely decline to answer until you have a clearer understanding of the situation.
Offering too much information
In your eagerness to clear the air, you might feel compelled to provide as much detail as possible or offer unsolicited information. Avoid doing this. Stick to answering only what the police ask and avoid volunteering additional details.
Emotions can run high during police interactions. However, it is important to stay calm and avoid becoming confrontational or argumentative. Aggressive behavior or language can escalate the situation and may lead to complications.
Consenting to searches without cause
If the police ask to search your person, car or home, you have the right to ask if they have a warrant. Without one, they typically need your consent to proceed. Before giving permission, think about whether there is a valid reason for the search.
Leaving the scene early
If the police are questioning you, be sure the interaction has ended before you leave the scene. Walking away while an officer is speaking to you is evasive and can result in more charges.
Do not assume the police have all the facts or that they know everything. Stay alert and be aware of the situation. Do not make assumptions about why they are questioning you or about what they may already know.
While interactions with law enforcement can be nerve-wracking, understanding what to avoid during questioning can help ensure your rights remain protected. Stay calm, be respectful and work to understand the situation fully before making decisions.