5 Things You Never Say To A Cop

By Joe Klare

Many of us have been there. You are out driving your car and you have some weed on you. Maybe you’re going to a friend’s house to blaze up. A friendly thing to do. But things are derailed a bit when you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror.

First things first, don’t panic. Whatever happens, DO NOT hit the gas and try to outrun the police. Cops have helicopters now, as do a lot of news stations. The odds of you getting away are slim to none. Besides, you don’t have a body in the trunk, right? Right?

My point is, having weed isn’t the end of the world, and most traffic stops go by without searches being involved.

Pull over where you can and stop. Be patient, cops will take forever during traffic stops. You are on their time now so you might as well accept it. This is a good time to think of what traffic law you might have broke, and possibly a plausible excuse. Most cops don’t care about excuses, but it’s a handy thing to have.

Now the officer is coming up to your window. It’s go-time. Here are some things to avoid:

1) Never say “What’s up, dude?” This person is not your homie. Always address the police as “officer,” or “sheriff,” if it applies. Being a smart-mouth or acting like this traffic stop is anything less than very important will awaken a cop’s ticket-writing instincts. He will then be looking for any reason to screw up your day – which includes a lengthy search of your vehicle. “Sir” and “ma’am” are also good to throw in where applicable.

2) If the officer asks you if you know what you did wrong, don’t ask “Isn’t that your job?” This again falls into the smart-mouth category, and once the cop thinks of you as the “smart-ass,” things will deteriorate quickly. A friend of mine was once pulled over for having a loud muffler; when the cop asked if he had a muffler on the car, my friend said, “yeah, look, it’s right there,” and pointed to the bottom of the car. The cop found my friend’s weed after a quick search. Cops can be sarcastic, not you.

3) If the officer asks you to get out of the vehicle, don’t say “no.” In fact, the only time you should say no to a cop is when they ask you if you were aware of an illegality on your part or if they can search the car. At all other times try to be a cooperative as possible. And always be polite.

4) If a cop asks if they can search your car, don’t say, “my so-and-so is a lawyer and he said I don’t have to allow that.” The police don’t care who you know; they know they cannot search your car without probable cause or your permission. Never give your permission. Be polite. If they say they are calling a K-9 unit, call their bluff and let them. Many cops don’t want to put in that kind of time if they don’t have a reason to. This means if they see you as a polite, cooperative person, they’ll drop it. And if they do call the dogs, at least you didn’t mouth off and give them reason too.

5) In the event that your stash if found by the police and it is illegal for you to posses it, never say…anything.

“Citizens shouldn’t be engaging in any conversations with police during these encounters beyond asserting their fourth amendment rights to not consent to a search of their vehicle, and asking: “Am I under arrest officer; am I free to go?” says Paul Armentano of NORML. This is solid advice; when in doubt, say nothing. And once the officer thinks he has cause enough to search your vehicle, clamp your mouth shut.

Most police officers are looking to give you a ticket for your speeding or stop sign-running. Unless you are driving recklessly, they have no reason to want to put the time into a search that – odds are – will produce nothing but wasted time.

Always remember: be polite and respectful, even if the officer isn’t. Let them give you your ticket and be on their way. Don’t give them any reason to prolong your encounter. There is no reason that contact between you and the police shouldn’t be quick and rare in occurrence.

A note for those of you who tend to be “chatty” in real life: Be someone else when talking to police during a traffic stop. The less you talk the less chance there is of you landing upon a subject that rubs the officer the wrong way. A traffic stop isn’t a cocktail party or a video game session in your friend’s basement. The less said the better, and if you follow the tips above, you should come out of most law enforcement encounters unscathed.

10 Responses

  1. georgio

    question – How do you handle when the cop really starts breaking your balls becuase your suddenly not talking to him? You just shut up and wait for him to call the dogs in? I say try to have a good stash spot in your car and let him search it. There is a better chance he does not find it and doesnt call the dogs and your on your way. Just shuting your mouth is avoiding the inevitable – dogs = busted.

  2. kush

    be very polite and say thank you sounds weird buy they will remember you and you get less sh*t i got pulled over doing 35 over and didn’t get anything but a slap on the wrist from a cop i was polite to before

  3. Thomas

    Hmm… Havent had a run in with the police in over 15 years or more. Never been stoped with weed in the car, don’t smoke in the car. I wonder if I wet my pants at the mention of a search would be suspicious? Can’t belive we still have to hide like little children. Makes me sick.

  4. Sakume

    @Georgio: You simply politely tell the police officer “I’m sorry, but I’m taking my right to remain silent sir.” Simple as that. Cops can lie to you too, you can’t though. A cops job is to get as much as they can to convict you.

    @Nellette: Only roll your window down far enough to speak and hand your license and registration through the window. If asked to get out of the car, turn the vehicle off, step out of the car, lock all doors with the automated locking system and close the door. If the cop asks you why you just did that, merely reply, “Sorry sir, habit of mine.”

    @Thomas: If the cop asks why you wet yourself, you’ve had a lot of soda (or coffee) and you were trying to hold it as best as you could till you got to a bathroom.

    Sometimes cops will search you without your consent and without probable cause. Get any witness details you can about the event and take notes of everything that happened ASAP as your memory isn’t perfect. If your rights were violated, your case will likely be dismissed entirely, even if the cop found pot on you.

  5. Nikolai

    first of all cop hater wares the love nigga? and a persons value is not up to you smig robustus. what you said was likely hurtful, and if you wanna continue living your life as an arrogant judging asshole be my guest. i forgive you both for you know not what you do, but please have a little compassion.

  6. Jpizzle

    I was pulled over last night is Washington state. 4 of us were in the car, and the driver and I were 18 years old. The other two were 17. We had been hot boxing the car before we were pulled over, so of course the car smelled pretty dank. The officer asked us who had been smoking weed, everyone in the car denied it. He had us all open out mouths to see if we were high. Not sure why he did this but my guess is that it’s was to check our eyes. In the end he let us go with a warning about making sure that my buddy’s parents need to keep up on the registration, because it had expired 2 months ago. Moral of the story: Don’t admit anything

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