How to Avoid an Arrest

Common Sense

I'm not trying to help you commit a crime.  The following info is to avoid unwanted police attention for whatever reason you may have.  I've noticed that a lot of silly mistakes have caused many of my clients to face some major problems due to a minor indiscretion. Think of this information as more common sense advice on staying clean rather than avoiding an arrest.  I guess I could have titled it "Common Sense Advice" but you wouldn't be reading it, would you?

The Squeaky Wheel

You know the old saying, "The squeaky wheel gets the oil?" Well, loudness also attracts cops. Cops are trained to spot things which look different based on the assumption that the majority are law-abiding citizens.  They assume that if you look or act different, you may not be law-abinding.  Sucks? Royally!  But we can whine until we're blue in the face or not allow cops to be attracted to us.  So what exactly did I mean by loudness?  Everything! Basically, if you standout from others, you've drawn attention to yourself.  Here are some common ways people are loud:

  • Voice: This is where we should have remembered our elementary school teacher when he/she taught us about "indoor" and "outdoor" voices.  That same loud voice which attracts our friends and potential mates also attract the police.  Until we can channel our voices to non-police ears only, it's important to be aware of who may be around us.  Part of the awareness of who may be around us is knowing who we may have annoyed with out voices--these are the very people who "rat" on you and call the cops.  
  • Clothing: Clothing is a biggie! Are you wearing things which look very different than others? Being hip and fashionable can have drawbacks with old-fashioned older cops who mistake your "style" for those who fit the stereotype.  For example, are you wearing shorts in snow or a sweater and jacket in the peak of summer?  Are you wearing colors and styles which are similar to gangs, drug users, vagrants, teenagers and the like? Cops know that young people are more likely to commit crimes.  They watch specifically for younger-looking people who are drawing attentions to themselves or acting out of the ordinary. While you may like dressing Goth with a large trench coat but if it's midsummer and you're cruising the isles of a store for a deodorant from the extra sweat, cops and store security could decide to track you for a while.  
  • Mannerisms: Mannerism is both manners and how you choose to use or not use those manners.  It's how you greet people, how you eat, how you walk, how you respond to questions, etc.,  Have you noticed how a polite person in a business suit can get away with a lot more than a young person with dirty clothing and foul mouth?  The man in the business suit could very well be holding up a bank. But up until the hold-up, he is given all the credit in the world.  However, the young man in a messy outfit has to over-compensate by being extra nice and polite before he's given any benefit of the doubt at the door of a liquor store.  Hey, I didn't create how people judge--take it up with your creator.  But until then, learn to care how you're perceived by others. 
  • Music: loud music has been the cause of many arrests for other criminal activities which could have gone unnoticed otherwise.  Music gets young people in more trouble than is imaginable. Young people REALLY enjoy their music with a need to let others know how "cool" it and they are. Young people don't always think or care about the ramifications of playing loud music.  But music goes together with deviant behavior like smoke goes with fire, as far as most cops are concerned.  All it takes is one complaint for a cop to notice you.  If you or one of your friends happen to be doing something illegal when the cop talks to you about your music, well, the rest is history...  
  • Driving Style: Good driving skills are acquired by a lot of practice but intentional bad driving (showing off) draws cops like bees to honey.  The same logic as music goes here--give a cop reasons to pull you over for one thing and you may have opened the door for him to find other things as well.  In hindsight, most people regret their "fun" when it costs them an arrest.  

Tactfully Negotiate

If you can't hit them with sympathy and they don't care for your spotless record, try to avoid at least a physical arrest where they take you into custody.  Try to ask for a "notice to appear" rather than being taken into the station.  Tell them you're not a flight risk because you have too much to lose from the small incident for which you're being arrested.  Explain how a mug shot could devastate your career and future.  


No matter what you say, NEVER yell!  Don't become rude or hostile.  That's a sure way of adding charges against you.  

Just Say No, to Searches!

Never give permission for any searches of any type.  They may still search you, but if you didn't consent to it AND they violated your rights, your attorney could have the discovered evidence thrown out.  But if you consent, the evidence stays even if the cops had no rights to them previously.