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  • Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

    And here we discuss how to assert your rights during police encounters. Even if you are the friend of a dope fiend who broke the law (this link alone probably warrants a new topic of discussion). This video is from flexyourrights.org. It goes over basic procedures for asserting your constitutional rights during police encounters. It's good information spread out over 45 minutes of bad acting, which alone makes it worth watching ;)

    "Do we have any more Pork Rinds?"

    You can watch clips from the video here, but they are kind of out of context and do not stand up real well without the framework of the full feature production.

    The two most important aspects not directly addressed video: you have rights and it's important to assert them, but they're not a 'get out of jail free' card for when you break the law, and know what your rights are. I'd also throw in that the majority of police aren't boogie men out to trick you into giving up your rights.

    We have a healthy representation of LEO's here at TG, so your two cents is probably worth more than the whole video IMO.
    ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
    No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

    <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.


  • #2
    Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

    I've got a few tips that might help:
    1. Don't invite police officers into your home: they can't come inside without probable cause or a warrant. And if they want in, they'll try a few tricks to get in. Just because they looked in the window and saw someone drinking does not mean they have probable cause. They don't know how old that person is. Now, them seeing a toddler with a beer in hand is another story.

    Ask them what their cause is. If you don't think it's good enough, tell them nicely "have a nice day" and shut the door. If you do ask them inside because it's hot or whatever else. Make sure to tell them to stay in the entry hall, and not to roam.

    And keep your stupid friend inside the house. If they catch an under-age kid on your lawn with a beer, guess what they just got: probable cause.

    2. Contrary to popular belief (at least in Texas): You CAN step outside without fear of being arrested (with a few exceptions). If you live in an apartment complex: outside of your door is no longer your property, hence: you have fewer rights. If you own your home, you can go out into the front lawn and you're afforded the same rights as inside.

    3. Be polite. I'm just nice to officers all the time (or anyone I talk to) until they give me reason not to be. If a cop writes me a speeding ticket all the while chatting it up and being a cool guy: I'll leave the encounter with a smile on my face. I broke the law: he did his job, no reason to give him crap about it. I've gotten out of a few (not a lot) of situations just by acting like I wasn't doing anything wrong. A cop shows up to a party I'm at: I'm calmly leaning against my truck and greet the officer. He says "hello," walks right past me and over to a group of kids who look like they just saw a chainsaw wielding maniac.

    4. If you're ever in question about what your rights are: error on the side that protects you the most. Don't think the cop has cause to search your car? Politely tell him "I'd rather you not search my car." Be calm: cops are trained to sense nervousness, and they will ask you off the wall questions to trip you up ("Got any rocket launchers in your car?"). I'm not joking, even though he is when he asks. He judges you by your response.

    5. If you aren't breaking the law (except for maybe speeding or excessive noise) act like it. Act surprised or genuinly sorry you wasted the officers time by making him stop you.

    6. Don't let lawyers (ADAs) push you around: tickets are about revenue, not keeping the roads safe. I personally would never fight a crime I knew I was guiltly of, but I fight tooth and nail against those I feel aren't warranted.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

      A cop may consider your asking him NOT to come inside as probably cause that something illegal may be happening inside, depending on the circumstances. I've been told by cop-friends that the police can justify probably cause in just about anything, so before you go "flexing your rights", just know that the cops sense suspicion they'll probable exercise their right to investigate.
      "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.
      He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

      - Attributed to General George Patton, Jr.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

        Originally posted by Evo<^|SiNz|^>
        I've been told by cop-friends that the police can justify probably cause in just about anything
        In the end I believe it is up to the courts to decide if probable cause existed (like in the first link I posted).

        Thanks Cing --------------v
        ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
        No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

        <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

          Originally posted by Evo<^|SiNz|^>
          A cop may consider your asking him NOT to come inside as probably cause that something illegal may be happening inside, depending on the circumstances. I've been told by cop-friends that the police can justify probably cause in just about anything, so before you go "flexing your rights", just know that the cops sense suspicion they'll probable exercise their right to investigate.
          Uhh, no. In the United States, denying consent to search can NOT be used by itself as probable cause. It's quite important to know your rights.

          That said, I've got mixed feelings about consenting to allow police to search your property. On the one hand, it's important to realize that you have the right to not allow it unless the police have PC. On the other, it'll make everyone's day much easier if you let the cops check out what's bothering them and confirm to everyone that there's nothing wrong.

          Also, be advised that if you're a pain in the cop's ass, there are probably quite a few laws that he's seen you break already. Silly little things that most cops usually let people pass on, but that can be used to make a valid arrest. "What do you mean that carrying my pocket knife in my pocket is Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon, officer?" Which brings up something very important. If a cop frisks you (She can do that for her safety just because she has stopped you.), make sure you tell her if you have a weapon or anything sharp on you!

          Be aware that if you're ever not free to leave, then the police have arrested you, regardless of whether or not there are handcuffs involved. If you're ever in doubt, simply ask them: "I wish I could help you, officers, but may I leave now?" They might say that you're not under arrest, but that if you don't do this or that that you could easily end up being arrested. Think about what crimes they might have seen you commit and whether or not those crimes can result in a trip to jail. In some states, you can go to jail for speeding, so you must be aware of your situation. They have probable cause to arrest you in that case, as well as the discretion of NOT arresting you. Once you realize the options that the police have against you, you need to decide how you can best help them AND yourself.

          If you're not a criminal, then it's almost always best to simply cooperate.
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          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

            Originally posted by TheFeniX

            4. If you're ever in question about what your rights are: error on the side that protects you the most. Don't think the cop has cause to search your car? Politely tell him "I'd rather you not search my car." Be calm: cops are trained to sense nervousness, and they will ask you off the wall questions to trip you up ("Got any rocket launchers in your car?"). I'm not joking, even though he is when he asks. He judges you by your response.
            My personal favorite is "Got any dead bodies in your trunk?" ;) It's amazing that some people miss that completely and others have just a bewildered look on their face :D

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

              Originally posted by CingularDuality
              Uhh, no. In the United States, denying consent to search can NOT be used by itself as probable cause. It's quite important to know your rights.

              That said, I've got mixed feelings about consenting to allow police to search your property. On the one hand, it's important to realize that you have the right to not allow it unless the police have PC. On the other, it'll make everyone's day much easier if you let the cops check out what's bothering them and confirm to everyone that there's nothing wrong.

              Also, be advised that if you're a pain in the cop's ass, there are probably quite a few laws that he's seen you break already. Silly little things that most cops usually let people pass on, but that can be used to make a valid arrest. "What do you mean that carrying my pocket knife in my pocket is Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon, officer?" Which brings up something very important. If a cop frisks you (She can do that for her safety just because she has stopped you.), make sure you tell her if you have a weapon or anything sharp on you!

              Be aware that if you're ever not free to leave, then the police have arrested you, regardless of whether or not there are handcuffs involved. If you're ever in doubt, simply ask them: "I wish I could help you, officers, but may I leave now?" They might say that you're not under arrest, but that if you don't do this or that that you could easily end up being arrested. Think about what crimes they might have seen you commit and whether or not those crimes can result in a trip to jail. In some states, you can go to jail for speeding, so you must be aware of your situation. They have probable cause to arrest you in that case, as well as the discretion of NOT arresting you. Once you realize the options that the police have against you, you need to decide how you can best help them AND yourself.

              If you're not a criminal, then it's almost always best to simply cooperate.
              Very well put Cing!

              Along the lines of being searched, please remember that anything that you have on you that can be used as a weapon (a small pocket knife, kubaton, etc.), always declare that to the officer if asked. You may not think of it as a weapon, but when you are searched the officer will view that as a weapon that can be used against them and remove it from your person. Providing what you have is legal and you have done nothing wrong, it will be returned to you at the end of the stop. Never lie when asked about these things. To take it a step further, no officer likes to get poked by a hypodermic. In MA it's illegal to be carrying a hyp if you aren't a diabetic. My policy is to say to them "Please tell me if you are carrying any needles. If you are and you are honest with me about it, I WILL NOT charge you with it." It's better to let that one go than risk getting poked. Most people will give them up with that offer.

              Originally posted by TheFeniX
              1. Don't invite police officers into your home: they can't come inside without probable cause or a warrant. And if they want in, they'll try a few tricks to get in. Just because they looked in the window and saw someone drinking does not mean they have probable cause. They don't know how old that person is. Now, them seeing a toddler with a beer in hand is another story.
              In MA we can come into your house 1 of 3 ways:

              1. Consent
              2. A Warrant
              3. Exigent Circumstances (an emergency)

              If you are throwing a house party with underage drinking, we obivously won't be getting 1 or 2. However, the first person that screams (joy/pain/horror) will be viewed as an exigent circumstance and we're comin' on in ;)

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

                Well that's good to know. My pal is either cynical or trying to scare me.

                I have the utmost respect for cops, but realize they never really put their guard down while they're in uniform.
                "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.
                He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

                - Attributed to General George Patton, Jr.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

                  I always just say "I'm calling my lawyer" in the drunkest-sounding voice I can muster.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

                    Originally posted by Evo<^|SiNz|^>
                    A cop may consider your asking him NOT to come inside as probably cause that something illegal may be happening inside, depending on the circumstances. I've been told by cop-friends that the police can justify probably cause in just about anything, so before you go "flexing your rights", just know that the cops sense suspicion they'll probable exercise their right to investigate.
                    It's NOT their right to investigate. And cops aren't stupid: they know that if they try and force their way into your home anything they do find (unless they flat-out lie about the circumstances) was found under false pretenses, and is inadmisable.

                    Originally posted by CingularDuality
                    That said, I've got mixed feelings about consenting to allow police to search your property. On the one hand, it's important to realize that you have the right to not allow it unless the police have PC. On the other, it'll make everyone's day much easier if you let the cops check out what's bothering them and confirm to everyone that there's nothing wrong.
                    Depends wholly on the situation: "There's been some break-ins around your neighborhood, and you're a 24-year-old home owner. We want to search your house for the goods" is going to get a pretty hardass response from me and a slammed shut door in the officers face, followed by a call to the local police department about harrassment and discrimination (not that it would do anything, but at least then it's on record).

                    "There's a fleeing felon around the neighborhood and we'd like to look around your house real quick" would probably garner a "If he was in my house, you guys would be the least of his worries." But I MIGHT let them search if I feel my safety is in jeopardy.

                    If you're not a criminal, then it's almost always best to simply cooperate.
                    Cing, here's the issue: I'm not a criminal, why should I be treated like one? Weren't you one of the guys who wouldn't let the door man at Best Buy search your bag? Same thing: let the cop check my record. He'll find nothing over a class C misdemeanor and that I have a CHL. I'll let my record speak for me. I cooperate with cops all the time, until I feel my rights are in jeopardy.

                    Originally posted by JMJ
                    In MA we can come into your house 1 of 3 ways:

                    1. Consent
                    2. A Warrant
                    3. Exigent Circumstances (an emergency)

                    If you are throwing a house party with underage drinking, we obivously won't be getting 1 or 2. However, the first person that screams (joy/pain/horror) will be viewed as an exigent circumstance and we're comin' on in ;)
                    Hence why I make sure I put "In Texas" before my posts. I don't let underage kids drink at my place, but you can bet your bottom dollar I'll have everyone at my party (my close friends records are about as dirty as a new pair of briefs) testifying in court that the cops were lying about hearing anything.

                    Texas cops usually wait for the first batch of drunk kids to stumble out of the party, bust them for something and tell them "We'll let you go if you tell us where you got the beer from." THEN they have probable cause.

                    A cop tried getting into my apartment once citing a noise complaint. He asked to search the apartment even though the party below us was the culprit. I told him no, and he left. Not like I was rude about it or anything.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

                      Ok, I'm clear on the home thing, but what about in a vehicle? What are your rights in a traffic stop?
                      "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.
                      He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

                      - Attributed to General George Patton, Jr.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

                        If you've done nothing wrong then you've got nothing to worry about. :icon_roll
                        Beatnik

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

                          lol, nice stereotype of a police officer in that video... but I would expect nothing less from the ACLU. ;)

                          I only watched 4 minutes of it but then got disgusted, another sampling of a cop in the wrong, (that was an actor BTW, not a real cop) but it makes it look like thats the norm. FYI: sure that probably happens occasionally, but a cop like that Will either quit within a year because of all the con-straits he must follow, or his creditability would be shot in court and forced to quit within 2 years, or finally within 3 years he would of screwed up big time and either be dead, or fired. Cops like the one shown are in departments, but they rarely RARELY last in police work.

                          1. Don't break the law and you don't need to worry about anything.

                          2. Wears this cops vest?

                          3. Why did he lean in the car?

                          4. Why did he order everyone out without back up?

                          5. why did he get into the car?

                          He was wrong, wrong, wrong in so many ways.


                          OK without watching the whole video and without reading everyones post here, heres some basics IMO, I repeat IMO...

                          Houses: it's your castle, good cops will respect that right... BUT if I walk by and see lines of coke on the table, with maybe a razor blade, and mirror and maybe a bag of powder... I CAN make entry into that home, but the preferred method would be to back track, get a warrant and in 30 minutes serve that warrant with back up... that coke will still be there to collect... now.. and this really happened to me... if I walk by and see coke on the table and a toddler playing near by, mom was in the kitchen... I can immediately go in and make an arrest, and by all rights I should be required to do that due to the kid.

                          If I get dispatched to a house party (and this happened last week, lol) as I pulled up a sweet young teenage girl ran up to the apartment, It's quite, no noise, at the reported apartment... so I politely knock and after about 5 minutes a very intoxicated 17 year old answers the door, I see nothing inside (they moved and hid it), I ask... is there an adult here? He replies no, I ask if there are kids here, he replies "a few Friends of mine", I ask if there is drugs or alcohol, he replies "NO", but I see that he is ****faced big time... I then say (and can) "well since theres no adults here and there seems to be evidence of drugs and/or alcohol consumption I have an obligation to make sure everyone is safe, please step aside and let me in".. well after a couple of "you can't come in, you can't do this" and a couple of nice request, he tries to close the door on me, I force it open, he then shoves me BIG MISTAKE FOLKS, don't touch a cop, I then use the minimum amount of force necessary to arrest him. I then come in, find 200 plus empty beer cans, a beer bong, marijuana and a pipe, in the kitchen... and 8 people, 3 over the age of 18...

                          so yes we can come in under certain sicumstances... heres a tip TG readers... if one of the 18 year olds (who wasn't even drinking) would of came to the door and said, no you can't come in, and I saw no clues otherwise... beer cans or whatever in plain view, I simply would of said.. ok then, keep it down. and had to leave.

                          CARS, your home is your castle, your car is not... it's much more easier to get into your car... If I smell marijuana in your car I can go in without permission (I better have a damn good rep with the courts thou), you can refuse to allow a search, but then like I said in another post... as long as the officer doesn't unnecessarily delay you, (20 mins in Florida) then a K9 (ME! hehe) can come to the scene... so feel free to say no to an officer to search your car, but you may just get delayed longer then if it was a simple warning or ticket... because then we become suspious... and of course we look for other clues... most of the time I ask if theres drugs or guns in the car, or ask if I could search just to read the drivers signals, were trained in that you know, lol, we know the different between deceit and nervousness... if I see no clues, i say nevermind, have a good evening and off they go.

                          Whether you like cops or not, realize that MOST are honest, hard working people... and we're doing our jobs by questioning and searching for illegal items. (remember my headlamp find post a few weeks ago)... FUNNY... everyone loves a fireman, most hate (OK, maybe to strong), dislikes cops... weird isn't it... I would think were both public servants saving and helping our citizens...

                          a little off topic... just recently, our local newspaper www.naplesdailynews.com has started allowing readers to leave comments after each story... after 20 plus years in law enforcement, I can not believe how much we cops are hated and despised by our community, I never knew it was so bad. oh well, what else is new... the new world I guess.
                          Magnum |TG-18th|


                          We stand between chaos and order, evil and good, despair and hope - we are the Thin Blue Line, and we will never be broken.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

                            Originally posted by Evo<^|SiNz|^>
                            Ok, I'm clear on the home thing, but what about in a vehicle? What are your rights in a traffic stop?
                            Exceedingly few. An officer can pat you down for any reason he wants. Granted, in court he's going to have to come up with something a little more concrete than "I checked the guy for weapons because he looked weird, and I found some pot,etc." A good lawyer can trash that easily, but you still have to pay for him.

                            Searching your vehicle requires a little more "gusto" on the part of the officer. Just don't give him any reason to search the car. Stay calm, be polite (yes sir, no sir, talk to the man/woman). Set yourself apart from the average person he pulls over. Ask him/her how their day is going.

                            I got nailed doing 72 in a 55 about 2 years ago. Was late to work. The officer came up and asked what the hurry was, I told him I wasn't going to waste his time with excuses, I just wasn't wastching my speed. He started asking me about where I worked, so I gave him the long version. We ended up BSing about the values of networking for about 15 minutes. He wrote me a citiation, I told him to have a nice day, I took defensive driving online, handled the ticket (first moving violation ever), and went on with my life. Before he left, the Trooper thanked me for being polite as most people he tickets get pissed. My comment was "The only thing I ask from police officer is what I do myself: be professional. I was speeding, and got caught. The only person I should be pissed at is myself. Take it easy."

                            If he asks to search your car, don't say no (although, it IS your right), just tell him you'd rather him not do it. Avoid "I don't want to waste your time." It's problems are two-fold:
                            1. If he decides he wants to search your car: he believes he's NOT wasting his time.
                            2. He will answer you back with the same: "It's not wasting my time."

                            Just politely decline and let HIM make the next move. He may "threaten" to make you wait while he calls a canine unit to come out and sniff the car. Personally, I'd let him do that unless I was just in some ungodly rush. If you find you don't have the time for that, let him search. Most of the time, they'll back down, but don't always bet on it.

                            Note: I don't do this to make the officers life harder, I do it because I have nothing to hide, and shouldn't have to prove it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Busted: Protect your rights in police encounters...

                              Originally posted by Magnum50
                              lol, nice stereotype of a police officer in that video... but I would expect nothing less from the ACLU. ;)
                              Well there wouldn't be much of a point in making a video titled "how to deal with friendly cops who aren't trying to make a collar by using shady tricks", right?

                              Originally posted by Magnum50
                              so yes we can come in under certain sicumstances... heres a tip TG readers... if one of the 18 year olds (who wasn't even drinking) would of came to the door and said, no you can't come in, and I saw no clues otherwise... beer cans or whatever in plain view, I simply would of said.. ok then, keep it down. and had to leave.
                              I'm confused here. If an apparently not drunk 18-year-old says "you can't come in" then you must leave but if an apparently drunk 17-year-old says "you can't come in" you may force your way in? Is that because of the age or the question of intoxication or both? Honest question.

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