When you are pulled over or arrested, your first instinct might be to fight with the police officer. You are reasonably upset and agitated, and your adrenaline is pumping full force. However, one of the most important things you can do is stay calm and collected. Not only will this help you from being charged with resist, delay, and obstruct, it may keep you from making statements to the officer that could be used against you.
If your case is not dismissed by the ADA, you may have to appear in front of a judge either for a plea or trial. The judge often considers whether you were polite and cooperative when determining your sentence. If the judge hears from the officer or ADA that you were not polite and cooperative, he will take this into consideration and may order a more strict sentence or higher fine.
Being polite and cooperative is especially important if you are pulled over for a DWI. In many counties, including Wake, a statement from the officer that you were polite and cooperative can act as a mitigating factor, which could lower your sentencing level and make the difference between whether or not you face jail time.
What exactly does polite and cooperative mean? Do not fight with the officer, cuss at him, or challenge him. You have the legal right to decline questions without an attorney present (except for basic questions, such as “What is your name?” and “May I see your driver’s license?”). If you are asked questions that would require you to admit something, simply say something like “I am sorry, I will not answer that without an attorney present.” Do not make any admissions of guilt. If the officer asks you to take roadside tests, you may also politely decline. By no means do you have to thank the officer, but simple things as “Yes sir” and “No ma’am” can make all of the difference.
If you are charged with a crime in Durham or Wake County, contact the criminal defense lawyers at Guirguis Law at email@example.com or (919) 832-0500 for a free consultation.