However, my advice isn't always going to keep you out of jail. It will, make your attorney's job easier. When you say a bunch of things and the cop says a bunch of things, it becomes your word against theirs in a courtroom with a judge who will walk all over your civil rights if you aren't represented. It also makes it difficult to piece together the sequence of events regarding the investigative portion of the contact.
I think one of the first things is to lose your fear of getting taken to jail or even spending a day there. I was tossed in a holding cell from 8am of day 1 to 9pm of day 2. There was no way to avoid arrest in that encounter, I had an outstanding failure-to-appear warrant and that day I was rear-ended on my way to work so an encounter was unavoidable. Of course, the cop told me that if I had told them I had a warrant that she could have avoided arresting me.
In the end, if you think you can talk your way out of a paraphernalia possession charge, then by all means go ahead and try. The cops will most certainly respect your civil rights. I've been told to stand in front of a couple of police cars on different occasions. Those incidents never resulted in arrest because I shut up and gave them nothing to turn reasonable suspicion into probable cause. That's where the original poster had things turn for the worst, reasonable suspicion of a vehicle hanging out in a dark parking lot with a person approaching it is suspicious. Could have been a drug deal, could have been prostitution, etc. You have to do your best to stay quiet and don't let your words move the situation from reasonable suspicion to probable cause. There's always 4 phases to a traffic stop...the Terry Stop, reasonable suspicion, probable cause, and arrest.
You might also consider learning about "totality of circumstances". For example, you see a man with a gun and several shell casings at his feet. On examination of the weapon you see that it has been recently fired. The man tells you he has just shot several rounds with it. Do you arrest him?
Same circumstances but now you are at an indoor firing range and there are several people there doing the same thing.
Same circumstances again but now it's 3am. The firearms store has been closed for several hours. The alarm is going off and several display cases are smashed open and the door has signs of forced entry.
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