Crawshaw & Simpson, PLLC

How can I end a “consensual” police encounter?

Often times “consensual” police encounters feel anything but consensual. Police officers have big guns, tazers, and batons that will make even the most law-abiding citizen nervous.It certainly doesn’t help that everyday there are a number of Internet videos that surface showing police misconduct and brutality. Who isn’t scared of being tazed, beaten, or even shot! Don’t let being nervous cause you to feel as if you are compelled to talk with the police when, legally, you don’t have to.

In a non-investigatory situation, you are under no obligation to talk to a police officer and you shouldn’t be intimidated into feeling otherwise. The simplest way to end an encounter is to be polite and explicitly communicate that you wish to end the conversation and carry on with whatever you were doing before. ‬

‪Ideally, after you express your wish to end the conversation and go about your business the officer will move on, however, sometimes the officer may become offended or angered, and force you to stay. In this scenario it is possible you might eventually end up in court which is why you want to be as clear as possible you wish to terminate the encounter and ask if you are free to leave so a court will correctly interpret your actions. The point is to be explicit and stick with your position so that both the cop and any potential judge will have no way of mistaking your intentions.‬‬