The issue reframed becomes this: It was 3AM and you were behaving very much like a drunken reveler at best, or a burglar at worst; then when you tried to explain your situation, they didn't believe you, in part because (1) drunken revelers and/or burglars lie to the police on a regular basis all the time, and (2) your story isn't entirely believable; then, instead of charging you with any offense, dropped you off at a friend's house (thereby cutting you a break); and you'd like to know what the POLICE did wrong?
You seriously need to reconsider some things. Also? Nothing good ever happens after midnight.
So, do you have a legal question?
NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.
With all due respect, but why are you worried about something that didn't even happen? Just be thankful that it's over.
I am licensed to practice law in the State of California, and thus, my answers are based on California law. The laws of your jurisdiction may differ, and therefore, this answer is for informational and educational purposes only and is not to be considered as legal advice. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author.
Your questions, in order:
"What did the police do wrong?" Nothing. They were investigating a potential intruder. Your neighbors hear loud knocking and someone creeping around in the bushes. You didn't know who the police were and thought they might assault you- the neighbors probably thought the same of you.
"How could I have beaten an arrest in this situation?" Too much is hypothetical to be able to answer.
"How should I have handled it? What should I have said or not said?" Well, you didn't get arrested, so I think you did everything about right. If you had been arrested for any reason, you say only two things:
1. I wish to use my right to remain silent.
2. I will not speak to anyone but my lawyer.
Repeat those two things to any law enforcement officer you talk to.
My response to this question does not mean I agree to represent you in any proceedings. This information is also not subject to attorney-client privilege.