The crux of avoiding a consensual encounter is noncooperation—refusal to answer questions and to consent to police requests. As noted above, this requires a fair degree of self-confidence and a willingness to flout the conventions of common discourse which, of course, this is not. Nevertheless, it is the sine qua non of consensual encounter avoidance. “Can we see your driver’s license?” “No!” “What are you doing here?” “I am not answering,” or less politely, “None of your business.”
Saying “no” once may not be enough. Some courts have held that continued badgering after a first refusal causes the encounter to cross the line to a seizure, but others have permitted repeated questioning and requests for consent to search without concluding that a seizure had taken place. A reasonable person would thus be well-advised to say “no” repeatedly, and to reject any attempt by the officer to accompany her if she tries to leave. Some courts have found it significant that the refusals were delivered in a shout or scream, or that the individual ran from police in an attempt to get away. The cases thus not only encourage flatly rebuffing the officer’s inquiries, but also encourage doing so in the rudest, most confrontational, and most obnoxious manner.