The following is a video transcript.
Suppose you’ve just been involved in a self-defense incident. You drew your weapon and fired a shot, wounding and potentially even killing your attacker. There is a body lying on the floor, and you need to get help fast. You grab the phone and dial 911…
If you used or displayed your gun, you need to call 911 as soon as possible after the incident. Be aware all 911 calls are recorded and anything you say can (and more than likely will) be used against you.
You are experiencing a level of stress unlike anything you have ever felt before; you are panicked, emotional, and your adrenaline is flowing through your body. Because you are in a traumatic state, it is likely you will not remember things clearly and may even forget some details of the incident.
Therefore, it is important that you prepare a comprehensive self-defense plan to get the help you need and avoid incriminating yourself. Even if you did everything right during the incident, what you do and say to the police and the 911 operator could make the difference between spending the night at home or in jail.
As U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorneys, we have years of experience defending thousands of members and have seen and experienced numerous 911 interactions. In this video, we will help you create a comprehensive plan so you know what to do and what NOT to do when calling 911 after a self-defense incident.
The 911 Call
DO NOT wait to call 911. After a self-defense incident, we recommend you call 911 as soon as possible.
DO NOT GIVE THE OPERATOR A DETAILED DISCUSSION OF WHAT HAPPENED. When the operator answers, BE BRIEF. Say as little as possible. Remember, all 911 calls are recorded and may be used as evidence against you in a criminal prosecution or even a civil lawsuit.
If you are charged later down the road, prosecutors will have a field day analyzing each and every word you said to the operator, looking for inconsistencies in your statement and the physical evidence discovered by the police. What were once innocent misstatements on the phone with the 911 operator can be painted by the prosecutor as attempts to fabricate or lie in front of a jury.
DO NOT use words like “killed” when speaking about the incident to the 911 operator. Don’t even mention that you drew your weapon or fired it unless necessary. Only give them enough information so they can send the appropriate emergency services personnel.
DO tell the operator the following:
- Your name;
- Your location;
- That you are the victim of a crime;
- What services are needed (such as police, EMS, or fire);
- A general description of what you are wearing to avoid any confusion by police when they arrive (as in you’re a 5′ 8″ female wearing a blue shirt and pink pants); and
- Essential logistical information that you may need to convey (like you have the intruder held at gunpoint in your living room), but as little information as possible.
Confirm your address before hanging up.
It’s important that you confirm the operator has the correct address before hanging up so that they can quickly and accurately dispatch the help you need to your location.
Hang up the phone.
You are under no obligation to stay on the line, so end the call after providing the necessary information. Operators are trained to keep you talking on the phone and will try to elicit as much information as possible from you before the police arrive. The operator may attempt to call you back, but you have no legal obligation to answer.
Call THE U.S. LAWSHIELD EMERGENCY HOTLINE
Call the U.S. LawShield Emergency Hotline (the number located on the back of your member card) and follow the instructions the Independent Program Attorney gives you. Your Independent Program Attorney will assist you through the process. Try to make this call in an area where you can be alone and can speak privately.
If you cannot get to an area where you are alone, simply give the attorney your name, member number, location, and what type of emergency you have experienced—like a shooting, drawn firearm, etc.
If you have time, give the name and phone number of an emergency contact—in the unfortunate event the police arrest you.
Before the police arrive…
If possible, make sure your firearm is returned to safekeeping. Remember, the police are there to secure the scene and gather evidence. When they arrive, they are dealing with limited information and will not immediately know who the victim is and who is the bad guy. It can create the wrong impression when the police arrive and your gun is in your hand and the other guy is on the ground.
Remember, an Independent Program Attorney is ready to assist you and is just a phone call away. If you have any questions regarding how to navigate the 911 call after a self-defense incident, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney.