People generally want to avoid run-ins with the law. The truth, as any Missouri criminal attorney can tell you, is that it can happen at times. As a resident of Missouri, it’s paramount for you to be aware of your rights under state and federal law so that you know what to do when you are questioned or arrested by the police.
What to Do If You Are Stopped for Questioning in Missouri
If a police officer stops you for questioning, remain calm and ask them the reason for stopping you. If they ask you to identify yourself, tell them your name. If they ask you any other question — particularly related to a crime — remain silent.
Remember — the police cannot coerce or threaten you into answering their questions under any circumstances. Similarly — as any Missouri criminal attorney can tell you — no court can punish you for not answering a police officer’s questions. So, apart from identifying yourself, you are not required to answer any of their questions. Once they are done questioning you, ask them if you are free to leave. If they say yes, say ‘thank you’ and walk away.
What to Do If You Are Pulled over in Missouri
If you are pulled over by an officer in Missouri, turn off the engine, turn on your vehicle’s interior lights, and stay where you are. Do not try to get out of the vehicle unless you are instructed to do so by the officer.
If you are asked to do so by the officer, show them your driver’s license, registration, and insurance documents. If the documents are in the glove compartment, do not reach into it without informing the officer first.
Once they have confirmed your identity, you are not legally obligated to respond to any of their questions. It is never a good idea to respond to a police officer’s question — no matter how innocuous it might seem — unless you are in the presence of a Missouri criminal attorney.
If they ask you for your consent to search your vehicle, you have the right to refuse. However, under Missouri law, an officer has the right to search your vehicle — even without your consent — if they have probable cause that it contains evidence of a crime.
What to Do If You Are Arrested in Missouri
If a police officer tells you that you are under arrest, cooperate with them without any hesitation. Do not — for any reason — try to resist or run away, as it might force the police officer to physically subdue you. Also, you could face additional charges for doing so, which can make your attorney’s job a lot harder. So, stay calm, remain silent, and follow the officer’s instructions.
Need a Skilled Missouri Criminal Attorney to Defend You
The criminal defense attorneys at Miller & Hine regularly represent Missourians facing a wide range of charges — from DWI to first degree murder. Our legal knowledge, combined with our understanding of the workings of the Missouri criminal justice system, allows us to develop highly effective and proven defense strategies to protect your rights.