As many people know, encounters with police officers can often be nerve-racking, stress-inducing, and all around an unpleasant experience. It becomes even more of an issue when the officer you’re dealing with is aggressive, rude, and confrontational. You may feel powerless in this situation simply because he or she is wearing a badge, but there are in fact things you can do to keep yourself and your information out the hands of a confrontational cop.

Pressure to Answer Questions

Police are no doubt intimidating, and you can feel obligated to tell them anything and everything. However, the fifth amendment grants you the right to remain silent, also known as protection from self-incrimination. Even if the officer is angry with you, even raising his voice and talking with a demeaning and aggressive tone, he legally cannot force you to say anything that you don’t want to. Even if you are arrested or wind up in jail, the fifth amendment still applies. This is the section of the Miranda rights that says “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

However, it’s important to know that there are two general exceptions to this case. One, some states requires that you identify yourself to a police officer when you are stopped. And two, if you are pulled over in a traffic stop, the officer will require you to show your license and registration as well as proof of insurance. However, the general principle is that when confronted by an officer, you have the right not to answer his questions.

Did you know that cops can and will lie by any means to get you to admit something? Although it’s not the most virtuous thing to do, it can be done. So, don’t admit to anything, no matter how convincing they may seem.

Confrontational v. Calm

When dealing with a confrontational cop, it’s expected that his speech and behavior will grow more aggressive. However, that doesn’t mean yours should as well. The goal in this situation is to diffuse any tension between you and the officer, and that means exhibiting non-aggressive behavior and speech. Do not yell back, do not stare back, and do not try to stand in any way that would further anger the officer. The most important thing is to stay calm and collected, even in the face of confrontation and anger.

Believe it or not, an interaction with a confrontational cop is a lot like a child facing a bully. One person is being loud, abusive (either verbally or physically), and generally rude. On the other side of things, you have your victim. They have options on how they can react in the situation, but ultimately, just one decision can change the course of how the bully acts. In a video by Brooks Gibbs, he creates a hypothetical situation involving himself and a bully. This is worth watching in the event that you are faced with an aggressive cop because it shows you how to interact with someone who is constantly increasing the tension.

Respect Goes A Long Ways

When dealing with a stranger, especially one that has more power than you do in a situation, it’s crucial to be respectful. Even if you don’t like the person, even if they’re being incredibly rude and intimidating, simply giving your respect can go a long ways. Addressing the officer as “officer” as well as saying “please,” “thank you,” and “I understand” can go a long ways in diffusing the tension. Engage in active listening, try not to zone out while they speak, and ask any clarifying questions in a calm and respectful manner.

Hire a Lawyer

If you refuse to answer the officer’s questions, or if you are still charged with a misdemeanor or felony, then it’s likely you will need legal defense. Rather than try to navigate the slippery slope that is the law, it’s best to consult an attorney who knows the ins and outs of your case and can help you work towards a successful outcome in your case.

Here at the Colorado Lawyer Team, we provide potential clients with a free 30 minute consultation. Our goal is to help defend you in your case using experience, dedication, and compassion. Dealing with a confrontational cop can be terrifying at times, but that doesn’t mean that your legal journey has to be as well. Consider scheduling with us to learn more about who we are and what we can do for you.

Need Legal Help?

Looking for legal representation? Not sure if hiring an attorney is the right thing for you? Consider reaching out to our attorneys here at the Colorado Lawyer Team for a free 30-minute consultation. With specialties in family law and criminal law, our experienced, dedicated, and hard-working attorneys may just be the representation you need! Find more information at or call 970.670.0378.

Interested in learning more about the law? Check out some of our previous blog posts like Economic Stressors and Divorce and Domestic Violence Cases and Child Custody.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship. It’s a blog post and not legal advice. Each case is different, and this post is meant for generalized knowledge, only. If you haven’t signed an engagement letter (or even received an engagement letter) AND issued some form of payment (peanuts do not count), then no attorney-client relationship exists. Nevertheless, we will do our best to ensure your confidentiality should you choose to contact us privately, but do not post about your case in the comments here (because reaching out for help with your case should be confidential, damn it).

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