Avoid Talking Yourself Into Handcuffs: What Not to Say After a Self-Defense Incident

(Photo: U.S. LawShield)

Do you know how to avoid talking your way into handcuffs? Or worse, jail time? Do you have a plan in place for the moments immediately following a self-defense incident? Do you know what to say and what not to say?

Self-defense incidents don’t typically happen during regular business hours. And they never happen in the way you might expect. Take the following story, for example.

David witnessed a crazed man speeding out of a Lowe’s parking lot, driving straight toward uniformed police officers as they drew their weapons. He heard shots fired and felt the need to act to ensure the safety of the police officers. David drew his firearm and discharged a single round, which struck the driver in the arm. The attacker was soon apprehended—but David’s story was far from over.

To David’s surprise, after the attacker was placed into custody, the officers began investigating David for a potential crime. Fortunately, David was prepared; he was a U.S. LawShield member.

David promptly called the U.S. LawShield emergency hotline, and an Independent Program Attorney was immediately able to assist him, establishing that essential attorney-client privilege. David’s conversation with the Independent Program Attorney was privileged and confidential. This privilege is crucial, because it means no one can force you to divulge the contents of your conversation or use it against you in court.

Acting in justified defense of a third party didn’t stop the police from investigating David or the prosecutors from presenting the case to a grand jury. While the grand jury ultimately no-billed David’s case, we should not forget the valuable takeaway from his story: Even if you are acting in justified self-defense, you may still have to defend yourself against criminal charges.

You might have done everything right during the situation, but what you do and say to the police and 911 operators could make a difference between spending the night at home or in jail. Think My Cousin Vinny. And if you haven’t seen this movie, the opening scene is worth your time to show what we’re talking about.

So, what should—and shouldn’t—you say?

First off, call 911—especially if you or someone else is injured and needs immediate medical attention. But remember, all 911 calls are recorded. Anything you say can be used against you. So, be brief; don’t give the operator a detailed description of the incident or the events leading up to it. Don’t use words like “shot” or “killed.” Don’t mention your weapon. Just tell the operator:

  • your name and location;
  • that you are the victim of a crime;
  • that you’re requesting EMS and police be dispatched;
  • a general description of what you’re wearing to avoid any confusion by police when they arrive; and
  • hang up!

Next, you need to get legal advice and make sure you are protected by the attorney-client privilege.

You need to talk to an attorney before making any further statements to law enforcement. If you don’t, you could talk your way into deep trouble.

If you’re a U.S. LawShield member, you can call the U.S. LawShield emergency hotline—the number located on the back of your member card—and follow the instructions that the attorney gives you.

Try to make this call in a private area to speak in confidence. The Independent Program Attorney will be able to advise you on your specific incident and give you immediate, location-specific, personalized legal advice.

If you cannot get to a private area, give the attorney your name, member number, location, and what type of emergency you’ve just experienced. When talking to law enforcement, politely but firmly invoke your right to remain silent and your right to counsel.  Simply remaining silent is not enough. You must affirmatively invoke your rights. Taking these steps can mean the difference between your freedom and your incarceration.

You need a self-defense plan.

Stories like David’s illustrate exactly why it’s so crucial that you prepare a comprehensive self-defense plan. Just by reading this article, you’re taking the first step. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse that will hold up in court. You need to prepare yourself mentally for self-defense situations and learn your rights. Finally, if you have a membership with U.S. LawShield, you have 24/7/365 access to an attorney who is in your corner to help you navigate today’s complicated legal world.

For more information on how to protect yourself, join U.S. LawShield today!

About the author: U.S. LawShield Our organization traces its roots to 2009, when a group of pioneering lawyers became fed up with the hostility and abuse in the legal system directed towards responsible gun owners. They saw innocent people suffering the terrible consequences of someone else’s choice to commit crime. And to make matters worse, those people were tied up in the legal system, struggling to defend themselves. Innocent people were experiencing financial duress, bankruptcy—or worst of all, going to jail.The Second Amendment states “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” And yet, every day, our founders saw innocent, responsible gun owners experiencing mistreatment in the legal system—as if they were the ones that had done something wrong. To fight these injustices, our founders chose to stand up for the rights of the American people and become a champion for good and the voice of justice. That’s when the idea for our company was born: the first concealed weapon legal defense program to truly provide Legal Defense for Self-Defense.Our business was born in Texas and continues today from our headquarters in Houston, Texas. For many years, we provided our program to law-abiding residents of Texas and was known as Texas LawShield®. Demand for services existed well-beyond the state of Texas and our team expanded to other states. Along the way, we took on the name U.S. LawShield®.Today, we are serving members in the majority of states. While we are honored that our focus and mission have really resonated with so many people – literally attracting hundreds of thousands across the country, we will never forget what brought us together, why we exist to serve members and we will always stay close to our Texas roots. It is said the people of Texas have some unique customs and traditions like independence, self-reliance, a can-do spirit, and a big heart (caring for one another). We work to convey this in all we do for our members.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Frank April 5, 2021, 9:24 am

    I’m a USCCA member. Not stumping for them, but they are a practical alternative that should have been mentioned.

  • ro April 2, 2021, 3:28 pm

    from an attorney…….3 things….if you are going to carry……

    1) have a war chest full of money;
    2) remain silent;
    3) after asking for an attorney…..period

  • Michael April 2, 2021, 11:47 am

    Agreed on the point of the abbreviated “911” call, then if possible and safe to do,
    1. unload your weapon and place it on the ground away from your reach, before LEOs arrive,
    2. Take out your drivers license (and concealed carry card) and have them ready for the LEO,
    3. Say you were in fear for your life. After that, keep your mouth shut.
    4. “politely” remind the police you will speak with them through your attorney, and then STFU!
    5. Talking to any law enforcement personnel will only get you into trouble, so again, “STFU!”

  • SuperG April 2, 2021, 10:11 am

    This is an thinly veiled ad, and should have been branded as such…says a USCCA member. 🙂

  • Robert Lee April 2, 2021, 9:01 am

    Important as a reload and a holster. Especially now in Bidens America. You are guilty until proven innocent.

  • Timothy W Broughton April 2, 2021, 9:00 am

    Nice story but is this the same if an intruder enters your home ???

    Or Perhaps You Must Use Your Weapon If You Are Attacked ???

    These Are More practical scenarios… Let police do their job …

  • JC April 2, 2021, 8:58 am

    Anyone use this service?
    If so – could you please provide feedback on your experience with the company. While a mock-up story detailing the need for such service is ok, does the company live up to their advertisement?

    • LJ April 2, 2021, 9:59 am

      Good question! I’m wondering the same.

      Anyone …?

    • Kane April 2, 2021, 11:42 am

      The USLS has recently come up several times before and several members have offered details. I am a member and find the rates reasonable. There are different levels of coverage where you can lock into a basic rate and add or retract a higher level of coverage depending on your circumstances. If you are travelling and might want additional coverage you can increase your plan.

      With a basic level of coverage you will be represented in a lethal encounter regardless of whether a firearm was involved. A USLS rep stopped by the CC class I attended and I signed up then and there. I have seen some other services that are very costly and the NRA coverage has bust with the scheming of the NY AG. Your questions are hard to address in full and I am sure the link provided will be the best place to start.

  • Jim April 2, 2021, 8:48 am

    Anyone who carries owes it to themselves to purchase and read “In Gravest Extreme” by Massad Ayoob.

  • Charles April 2, 2021, 8:32 am

    You tell the officer, you feared for your life. Here are witnesses, if there are any, and that you will cooperate fully after you talk to your attorney. Give them your ID and say nothing else.

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