Do not talk to law enforcement

Talking with the police will not help your situation. Everything you say and do can be used as evidence against you. Unfortunately, many people think they are smart enough to talk their way out of something. That is stupid for two reasons: First, police are professionals at getting evidence – they go to training and work on a daily basis to gather evidence from witnesses; Second, you are not going to accomplish anything but getting yourself into more trouble. The police would not be talking with you if they simply wanted your excuses and then would let you go. Instead, the whole purpose of police talking with you is so they can build their case against you. If you believe you are a suspect, do not talk with the police. Of course, if you had no involvement and do not have reason to believe you are a suspect —for example, you are the victim— of course, you can talk with the police.

Do not think you can bargain with the police

The police do not have the authority to enter into any deal with you. In Minnesota, it is not illegal for the police to lie to you. The police can tell you they have the authority to enter into a deal. The police can tell you that if you tell them what really happened they will let you off easy. The police can tell you they will not charge you if you help them find a more important person. These are generally lies. The police do not have the authority to enter into deals with those they are charging. That is solely the decision of the prosecutor, and any offers should be in writing before relying on them. If you find yourself making a deal with a prosecutor, you should definitely have an attorney review the deal and ensure your rights are protected. The bottom line is: do not trust any offers for leniency, special treatment, or other protection from the police in exchange for you revealing information about your involvement in a crime.

Do not disobey the police, but do not willingly give up information or allow a search for evidence

It is appropriate to tell law enforcement that you will do whatever they tell you to do but you will not willingly permit them to search something, interrogate you without an attorney, or anything else they are requesting. Often law enforcement will use intimidation tactics to get you to do something or to let you search something. The best way to respond to this is calmly, by explaining that you will allow them to do anything that they state you must, but if they are asking, you’re refusing on the basis of your constitutional rights. You can also ask for an attorney and state that you do not want to talk any further until there’s an attorney present. By doing this, you avoid the problem of disobeying the police and getting charged with resisting arrest or other potential crimes, while also avoiding the problem of permitting the problem of letting the officer gather more evidence against you.

In conclusion, if you get arrested in Minnesota, remember the following tips:

  1. Do not talk to law enforcement.
  2. Do not think you can do a bargain with the police —they do not have the authority to enter into any deal with you.
  3. Do not disobey the police, but do not willingly give up information or allow a search for evidence.

Bonus tip for DWI arrests

If you get pulled over for a DWI never do a field sobriety test. A field sobriety test is where they ask you to do various things to test whether you are intoxicated. These may include walking in a straight line with your arms out, saying the alphabet backward, staring into a flashlight while you perform some balancing feat, or related tests which are usually done outside of your car. Do not do these. The only result of doing these tests is giving the officer evidence against you. The officer may be doing this because he doesn’t believe he has enough evidence against you yet, but if you fail one or two of the tests, you will have provided additional evidence. Unfortunately, even most sober people can’t pass all three tests. I have spoken with law enforcement officers who tell me at training they try to do these tests with each other, and it is very rare that someone can accomplish two or three of these tests in a row without failing. It is ironic that this failure could be used as evidence against you in court, but that is exactly the purpose of a field sobriety test. As noted above, tell the officer you are refusing to do a field sobriety test unless he is telling you that you must and orders you to do so.