What to do if I am talking to a Law Enforcement Officer?

If a member of law enforcement is interested in talking to you, the number one rule is generally don’t talk to them alone.

Whether said member of law enforcement is a police officer, a detective, a protective services officer or any agent of the government, one of their jobs is always to try and make a case against people who may have, even inadvertently, broken a law or regulation.

If you are being asked questions by a member of law enforcement always ask them the following questions:

Am I free to go if I wish to?

  • If the answer to this is no ask them if you are being detained or arrested. If you are being arrested tell them you wish to exercise your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Do not speak to them until an attorney is present. Call either myself or some other attorney, but never talk to the police if you have been arrested without an attorney present.
  • If they say you are being detained ask them for what purpose. Ask them if you are, to their knowledge, a suspect or person of interest in any ongoing proceeding or investigation. If the answer to that is yes, treat it as though you are under arrest, assert your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney present. You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney all the time. You do not have to be under arrest or detained to assert those rights.
  • If they answer that you are not a suspect or a person of interest, ask if it is ok if you speak to them at another time. If they try to pressure you into making a statement right then, again, seek the counsel of an attorney. Ask if you can submit a written statement. I would be happy to help you prepare a written statement for a very reasonable fee.


Finally, if for ANY REASON you feel at all uncomfortable talking to said law enforcement officer it is a good idea to retain an attorney. It is far harder to take something back you said inadvertently, with an attorney present you they can make sure you never say something that will get you into trouble in the first place.

This is why I say even if you don’t call and retain me, do call and retain someone who has the skills to protect you in your interactions with Law Enforcement. They are professionals and very good at what they do, and you should have someone who is just as skilled as they are looking out for you.

To learn more, contact Goldstein Law, PLLC based in Tumwater, WA today.