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Arrest v. Conviction: The Police Only Have So Much Power

It’s always good to remember that when you’re pulled over or questioned by police, an arrest does not mean guilt and an arrest or conviction is not the end of the world. In our practice, we’ve seen officers arrest clients on scanty evidence and simply hope for the best regarding a conviction. But sometimes, as two LAPD officers exhibited recently, the desire for a conviction may elevate and become dangerous. Spawning from a roadblock on September 4, 2010, two LAPD officers filed a false police report, lying about the alleged reckless driving of a Los Angeles resident, then colluded to support their false claims in testimony at a DMV administrative hearing. Currently, the Los Angeles D.A. is investigating the matter. This incident should not inspire worry, suspicion, or theories of conspiracy when dealing with police officers, but rather confirm that police have a broad range of power in regards to arrests and far, far less power in terms of conviction. So, when pulled over or questioned by police, stay calm and be conscious of the hierarchy of power in the justice system. Officers usually aren’t adept at influencing convictions and anything you do or say can be used against you in court. During the beginning of a police investigation, the initial stop, you hold all of the information and therefore have a strong influence over your conviction.

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