If you’ve ever been stopped by the police for any reason, there’s a chance that you might agree that it’s a bewildering situation, regardless of whether or not you were actually breaking the law. Your stress level increases, your heart races, and you’re doing your very best to be mindful of your own actions so as not to increase the officer’s stress level, too. It’s definitely a tense and awkward situation that could leave even the coolest of folks feeling a little frazzled and thinking a little less than clearly. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind if you ever have a run-in with a police officer.

Maintain Respect and Keep it Cool

While it’s a tense and nerve wracking situation, don’t lose focus. It’s essential that you both stay calm and imagine yourself in the other one’s shoes. While they’re only temporary, fear, frustration, anger, regret, and a whole range of other negative emotions can quickly take over the situation, if we let them. Maintain respect and eye contact throughout the exchange and answer their questions clearly, if you choose to answer at all. Which brings us to our next tip…

You Have No Obligation to Answer Questions

While it would be courteous to answer the police officer’s questions as respectfully and politely as possible, you’re not obligated to. You do have to comply with their orders and answer certain basic questions regarding your name and address, however. Stay cautious about the answers you do give, so as not to admit guilt or any wrongdoing on your part. If you’re not sure about which questions to answer, seek legal advice, which is within your right.

You Can Ask Questions, Too

Just as police officers can ask you questions, you have the right to ask questions, as well. In fact, doing so will give them an indication that you know your rights. First off, ask why you’re being stopped. If they can’t tell you why they’re stopping you, they may not have probable cause, which means they can’t detain you, which also brings us to the next question you should know to ask… Make sure to know to ask if you’re free to go or being detained, if you’re unsure at any point. And finally, if the officer asks you to do something, feel free to ask if it’s a request or an order. You are only required to comply with orders.

Search Consent Isn’t Necessary

Police may ask to search your car or home as part of their stop. You are not required to allow them to do so. A simple “No, officer.” will suffice when they ask if they can search your premises. If you do consent to a search, anything they find can be used against you, whether it’s pertinent to this stop or not.

Just in Case… Call a Bail Bondsman

If you or a loved one happen to find yourself in the unfortunate position of getting arrested, make sure to call a licensed bail bondsman as quickly as possible in order to get you out of jail as quickly as possible. The professional attention of a licensed and insured bail bondsman is what you need to help you navigate the process from the first call to the release from jail. Whether you simply need to know how much the bond is or you need help coming up with the bail, you should always contact a trusted local bail bonds agent for the expert advice and consultation you need at such a crucial time.