Remember that scene in “Basic Instinct” when Sharon Stone’s character sat on her balcony and told the cops to either arrest her, or get the *$#! off her property? Well, her profanity aside, her act of asking law enforcement to specifically articulate their business was well-played.
If members of law enforcement approach you, ask them if you are detained. If they tell you that you are not detained, continue on your way.
On the other hand, if they tell you that you are in fact detained, this means that you are not free to go because they are claiming to have some reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct that they can articulate. Be calm, be respectful. Ask for a lawyer. Let them know that your first objective is to invoke whatever rights you have, and your second objective is to do so respectfully.
Again, in order to detain you, in theory, law enforcement must have a reasonable suspicion that you are engaged in criminal conduct. When they tell you that you are in fact detained, not free to leave, ask for a lawyer and ask what your rights are. (Asking for a lawyer lets everybody know that you are invoking any rights that you may have.)
If you are detained, and the cops ask you questions, ask for a lawyer. Constantly, and calmly ask if you have a choice about whether to answer questions or whether you are free to go. Here’s why: Many court room hearings involve accused criminals listening with shocked looks on their faces as the officers that “encountered”, questioned, and searched them testify that the entire encounter was consensual, and that “the defendant was free to go, but chose to confess about the big bag of coke in the trunk of his car instead, Your Honor”.
Finally, if you are arrested, this means that the cops are taking the position that they have probable cause to believe that you have been engaged in criminal conduct, remain calm, and ask for a lawyer, then shut down. Again, ask for a lawyer, and say nothing else.
Think of Sharon Stone’s character on that balcony, but without the profanity. Take this very seriously, remain calm, and protect your rights.