Three Things You Don't Have To Do While The Police Are Searching Your Apartment

Just because the police are in your house, it doesn't mean you have to do everything they say. Just remember to be polite whenever you are declining any of the officers' requests. Being rude doesn't help, and may get you on the officer's bad side for nothing. That being said, here are three things you don't have to do when the police are searching your apartment:

Answer Their Questions

You don't have to answer any of the officers' questions after identifying yourself. In fact, most lawyers will advise you not to answer the questions because you can easily incriminate yourself with your "innocent" answers. Don't forget that the police don't have to read you your Miranda rights if they haven't arrested you, but they can still use your questions against you and other individuals.

However, not answering questions is different from actively lying to the officers. The former is your right while the latter may be a criminal offense. So, when the police ask how many rooms are in the house, it may be criminal to say there are four rooms if the correct number is five, and you know it. However, you can decline to answer the question until your lawyer arrives.

Assist With the Search

Just as you aren't obligated to answer the officer's questions, you don't have to help them with the search too. So when they ask you to help remove the floorboards or move the bed, you can politely decline the request. However, you will be making a criminal offense if you actively hinder the search or make the officers' work harder. For example, you shouldn't close a room and throw away the keys since that would be interfering with the officer's work. The best advice is to stand aside and let police continue with their job.

Give Passwords to Your Electronic Devices

During a search, police officers have the right to take your electronic devices, such as computers and cellphones, if they believe the items are material to the case. However, you don't have to provide them with access passwords or keys to the devices. Giving them the passwords is tantamount to self-incrimination, which the law protects you against.

In short, you shouldn't go out of your way to make the officer's job difficult, but you don't have to assist them to get evidence against you either. If you suspect that your legal rights were abused by police officers, give your criminal law attorney all the details of the incident. The lawyer will know how to use the information during your defense.