The Police Want To Talk To Me? What Should I Do?

It is a common enough situation, you are going about your day, perhaps you come home and see a peculiar card stuck into your door and when you retrieve it, you’re shocked to see that it is from the local police or sheriff asking you to call. Or maybe they are knocking on your door, you open it and they ask to speak to you about something or for you to come with them to speak. Those moments are often frustrating, and anxiety filled as you have no clue what’s going on, what they are after or what is about to happen. Even if you know you are totally innocent in your affairs and you’re on your own property, it is still entirely possible to feel powerless in that instant. Unfortunately, almost never will someone going through one of these moments happen to have their lawyer right there to take over for them. These are the interactions with our government that we often to have to ride out alone. However, what you do in these moments can definitely have a huge effect on what I, or any other attorney, does in a courtroom several months later. So, since we cannot avoid the fact that these situations happen without a lawyer, I’m going to help you out with what I’m going to call: Masin’s Laws.

First Law: If you aren’t the victim of a crime, don’t be ‘helpful’

Let’s say off the top, if you actually have been the victim of a crime, it is entirely natural and good to answer the relevant details that you’re asked about by the police responding. Now, that being said, any other situation, do not be helpful. Detective shows up at your door and tells  you that your neighbor had a break in last night and asked if you remember anything weird, seems pretty basic and routine and of course you want to help your neighbor catch their burglar so you go off and answer. However, now, the police have you admitting that you were at your home for a certain span of time on a certain night. Maybe they already think you’re the burglar and even though you aren’t, you did just ‘helpfully’ admit to being awake and right next door when it happened and you didn’t give them any details that would help them catch someone else. Now your innocent gesture of help to a neighbor has led to higher chances you are charged with an offense you didn’t commit, more scrutiny on you in general and worst of all, the real burglar is out there somewhere enjoying your neighbor’s stuff because the police aren’t looking his way. The only person who wins in that scenario is a burglar and the losers are you and the people of Texas. So, with that being the case, remember the first law of Masin’s Law: Don’t be helpful. Chances are better that you will help yourself right into a jail cell instead of cracking a case.

Second Law: If you’re being detained already, then it’s MY turn to talk, not yours

We are being detained the moment the government does something that would communicate to a normal person that they are not free to leave. There are no magical words as this is highly situational. Maybe you’re not under arrest but the police have locked the door to the room you’re in so you can’t leave. Detained. Pulled over on the side of the road = detained. The door is wide open right there across the room but three police officers are standing between you and it asking you aggressive questions and not budging from blocking the door. Detained. In these moments, there are very few things you can say that will help your situation. If you don’t want to take my word for it ask anyone you know in law enforcement or listen to the many criminal podcasts and YouTube stories there are out there. Spoiler Alert: None of them feature someone talking themselves out of being arrested. If it’s going to happen then it will happen, anything you say in those moments is just more rope to hang yourself, so at that point the only thing you have to tell them are clear “I don’t answer questions without my attorney, sorry”. Now I know what you’re thinking: that’s rude, these guys are just trying to do their job, I should cooperate, or some other tired line we often say in these moments. Stop thinking that and do not listen to it. It is very easy to unwittingly get yourself wrapped up in something just because you had to volunteer information.

Take this example: You’re a Japanese female, driving from Austin to Waco and get pulled over in Salado while driving down I-35. The officer explains that you were speeding and checks out the tags and does the usual stuff, then he looks over and sees your large Mcdonalds iced coffee and says “long drive tonight?”. In response you say “Oh yeah, I’m coming down from Austin so been on the road awhile.” Nothing further is said, he gives you a warning even and then you’re on your way. Sounds pleasant enough right? No one was rude at all. Now, lets say that about 30 minutes before you got pulled over an Asian female robbed a 7-11 in Georgetown. The police start going through their investigation and realize “Hey wait, we pulled over an Asian female 30 minutes after the robbery, and she admitted that she was coming from Austin so she was definitely in or near Georgetown during the time of the robbery by her own admission. Let’s go take a look at her.” Next thing you know, your door is being kicked in as the police have convinced some judge to sign a warrant allowing the police to search your home for evidence of the robbery. All because you gave away a single tidbit of information in a conversation.

Now, let’s rewind back to that moment and show how it should have gone down:

Officer: Long drive tonight?

You: Is this related to why you pulled me over?


You: Sorry but I’m not answering questions right now, is this stop over and can I leave?


You: [No response. Just sitting there in dead silence as if you rudely never even heard the question]

All of the above are decent responses. They’re not nice ones maybe, but I guarantee in that worst case scenario where your door is kicked in or you are being led away in handcuffs, you will not think to yourself “Well at least I was polite so this is worth it.” So avoid all that and remember the second law in Masin’s Law, us lawyers do the talking for you, and if we ain’t around then you have nothing to say.

Third Law: Stay firm and do not let yourself scare easy

There’s a reason police have their uniforms, utility belts, bright flashlights and generally speak in booming, authoritative voices: it intimidates. Intimidated people are compliant people. Sometimes that is good, as it gets someone to stop doing something illegal or not do it at all, such as a hardened criminal losing their nerve and deciding to just let himself be arrested instead of assaulting the police officer arresting him. However, we have plenty of examples where that same intimidation gets people to comply with things they don’t have to, even comply with straight up illegal commands from the police. The police have an almost absolute right to lie to you if they feel it necessary. So, it is entirely possible that you follow the Second Law and get an irate response from the officer. Maybe he calls you suspicious, says you’re being evasive, starts telling you about how you’d better cooperate. Or even completely makes something up such as “I’ve got you on video committing this crime. You need to talk to me right now or I can’t help you.”. We’ve all seen Law & Order, don’t be intimidated and whatever you do, do not give in and go along with whatever the hell they are asking you to do. If they are still asking, that is because it is still in your power to tell them no. Let them threaten you with arrest, let them threaten to go and come back with a warrant, let them threaten to harass you, your neighbors, and relatives and whatever else they say they will do. Don’t give up your power and constitutional rights because someone in a uniform is putting pressure on you, that’s the entire point of your rights. You will thank yourself, and your lawyer will thank you down the line.