You were just the victim of a traumatic incident, and the flash of red and blue lights is making it hard to concentrate on the police officer’s questions. After the worst happens, you won’t have the time or mental energy to come up with a plan. So, the time to prepare is now.
In previous videos, we’ve addressed what to do after the bang. Remember your 5-step 911 call? The imperative information you must communicate to the 911 operator includes your name, location, services needed, and a defensive statement, such as you were the victim of a crime. Then hang up and call an attorney before police arrive.
But what happens next?
Listen to Police Instructions
First, listen to police instructions. It’s common for the police to handcuff you and your assailant until they have a better idea about what happened. Even though you were acting in self-defense, the police may not know that right away. Police are trained to secure the scene first, which means they’re going to disarm you if you have a gun on you when they arrive. Do not reach into your pockets for your identification unless instructed to do so. You don’t want the police to think you’re reaching for a weapon.
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
Next, exercise your constitutional right to remain silent. If you had the chance to speak to an attorney before police arrive, you may be comfortable in making a statement based on the advice of counsel. But if you have not discussed the incident with an attorney, you should simply say that you were the victim of a crime, and that you’re exercising your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Do NOT make any further statements to law enforcement and do not answer their questions. Police are not on the scene to prove your innocence. They are there to investigate a crime and collect evidence that can be used against you for criminal charges.
Seek Medical Assistance
Finally, if you or someone else was injured, tell the police you need medical assistance. This will have the added benefit of giving you an opportunity to organize your thoughts. Remember, the EMS personnel talk to police as well. Do not give EMS any more information than is needed to treat your wounds. Do not explain the incident to anyone except your attorney.
Remember these steps if you’re ever forced to act in self-defense. If you have any further questions, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.