Skip to main content
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

Ex-Cop Offers 5 Tips for Avoiding Arrest

By Brett Snider, Esq. on December 09, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

No one knows more about arrests than police officers, and one former cop is spilling his secrets for how ordinary civilians can avoid arrest.

According to The Atlantic, former Miami-Dade police officer Dale Carson is now a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, and his new book "Arrest-Proof Yourself" gives readers some key tips on how to stay out of police custody.

Here are five standout tips from Carson on avoiding arrest:

1. Be 'Invisible.'

It may seem like common sense, but police can't arrest you for what they can't see. An arrest is only legal when there's probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed an offense, and if officers can't see you doing anything illegal, the chances of arrest are slim to nil.

Suspects who break the law are less likely to be caught if the law-breaking happens quietly at home. The Atlantic reports that Carson also suggests that arrest-avoiders strive to "be boring" -- no wild clothing, hairstyles, sports cars, or anything that will visually attract officers.

2. Know Where to Go.

Part of the police arrest tactic is profiling. Unlike some forms of racial profiling, assumptions of illegality based on where suspects hang out are common and often upheld as legitimate. Police may also base reasonable suspicion for a stop on whether a location is a high-crime area.

This means to reduce the risk of getting arrested, try to avoid going out to wild clubs or being seen in sketchy neighborhoods, especially after dark.

3. Be Compliant, Not Reactive.

You are well within your rights not to answer police questions, but resisting police efforts is a fight for dominance that may increase your likelihood of being arrested.

The most practical way to avoid arrest, according to Carson, is to absorb police officers' abuse or attempts to rile you up and to be polite and respectful, reports the Atlantic.

Racial slurs and physical abuse by police are always good for a civil suit later, but don't let them get you arrested by reacting aggressively.

4. Give Eye Contact, Avoid Smiles.

Eye contact is always respectful when someone is talking to you, and smiles ... well, "[c]ops don't like smiles," reports the Atlantic.

5. Ask for a Notice to Appear.

While officers (for the most part) aren't even required to tell you what they're arresting you for, they always have the option to give you a paper citation as opposed to physically arresting you and hauling you off to jail.

It should be noted that these are just one ex-police officer's tips for avoiding arrest, and (of course) they aren't guaranteed to work. To learn more about legal arrests -- and especially if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law -- you may want to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area.

Related Resources:

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard