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You And The Police

Here's a quick guide of important things to remember whenever you interact with law enforcement officials:

Always Be Calm And Polite

First and foremost remember that police are people too, and also remember that law enforcement is a difficult and dangerous job. With that in mind, you should always deal with the police in a calm, polite, and professional manner. But being polite does not mean that you should ever, under any circumstances, give up your rights.

Never Admit To Anything

You have no obligation to answer any question. If you are in your car, you must provide license, registration, and insurance. Anywhere else, you have no requirement to provide any information.
(In a very few states you do have to verbally state your name if asked, but you do not have to show ID in any state unless you are under actual arrest, or are driving a vehicle on public roads).
You cannot be arrested just for not talking to the police. However, never badmouth, interfere, or obstruct the police. If you are being arrested or detained, you have a right to know why. You cannot be detained for an unreasonable time, and they must have a reasonable suspicion to detain you.
Ask if you are free to go, and if you are free leave immediately. Everything you say to the police is important, and may be recorded without your knowledge. Never offer any extra information. If you do answer questions, keep your answers very short and to the point, and most important, Never confess — it does not help you.

Never confess or cooperate in a search. Confessing does not help you and it will not make the justice system more lenient on you. NOT EVER

Insist On Seeing A Lawyer

You have a legal right to speak with a lawyer. Never speak to the police without at least consulting one. If you speak to the police without a lawyer, you have given up one of your most important rights. Never agree to go to the police station to answer questions or submit to interrogation. Never confess — it does not help you.

Always Protest A Search

Even if the search is by a court ordered warrant you should always make it very clear that any entry onto your premises is fully against your wishes, and that YOU DO NOT CONSENT IN ANY WAY TO THE SEARCH. If you are pulled over, the police are not allowed to make you wait for a "dog" to come sniff your car.
If you are stopped on the street and detained per reasonable suspicion, and the officer has reasonable suspicion that you might be carrying a weapon, they can “pat you down” but can not go digging into your pockets or bags. Never cooperate in a search — it does not help you.

Never Invite The Police Into Your Home, Office, or Car

Any lack of protest can be considered an invitation. If they ask if they may enter, and you do not immediately voice your strong protest, this may be construed as an invitation on your part. This voids your right to privacy, and you lose this right later in court. OBJECT IMMEDIATELY and Never cooperate in a search — it does not help you.

Quick Tips & Examples: What to Say and How to Act

In order to detain you for a short, reasonable amount of time, an officer only needs “reasonable suspicion” not probable cause. Depending on state and local laws, if an officer is detaining you, you may have a right to know why, and should ask. If you are arrested, you must be told why in a reasonable amount of time.

The Conversation May Go Like This:

YOU: Am I free to go?
OFFICER: No, I am detaining you.
YOU: Why are you detaining me?
OFFICER: Because...
(The officer may give a real reason, or they may lie with “you match the description of a robbery subject” or “there is a warrant for your arrest” or other common falsehood.)
••• In some states, you must verbally give your real name if an officer requests in the course of an investigation. If you live in one of the few states with a stop-and-identify law, reply with your name, then repeat:
YOU: Am I free to go?
OFFICER: I want to ask you some questions.
YOU: Respectfully I object, I will not answer any questions. Am I free to go? —
Please give me your card and I will have my attorney contact you for any questions. Am I free to go?
If the only reason the officer is detaining you is to ask your name, or ask questions, they cannot continue to detain you beyond that once you state you will not answer questions. They are only allowed to detain you for a “reasonable” time, which courts usually find is under 20 minutes, or substantially less.
  • NEVER argue, badger, or interfere with an officer. They have guns and they have proven they are willing to shoot unarmed citizens. De-escalate as soon as practical, and leave once they release you.
  • ALWAYS keep your hands out of your pockets. Ideally, keep your hands open, palms facing the officer. If you feel must reach into a pocket to get your phone or wallet, do so slowly and verbally state what you are doing.
  • ALWAYS verbally object to any search of you or your belongings. In some cases the officer has the right to a “Terry pat”, which is only to determine if there are weapons. They can not go through your things or your pockets.
  • If the officer refuses to allow you to leave, and won’t tell you why, ask to speak with the shift supervisor or desk sergeant. They can not force you to wait 90 minutes while they “get a dog” for instance.
  • Once the officer tells you you are free to leave, leave the area unless you have actual business where you are that you are conducting.

The Police Can and Do Lie

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the police can lie to you for any reason. The police are not supposed to lie in court, or in official documents. If you ask a plain-clothes police officer if they are the police, they can lie and say that they are not (this is one of the most common misunderstandings by citizens. If you ask an undercover cop if they are the police, they can legally say no, and claim to be something else).
In fact an undercover police officer can take illegal drugs with you to "prove" they aren't police. The police can lie about evidence they have about you (they can fabricate ''fake'' evidence to trick you into confessing, for example). While fake evidence cannot be used in court, if it makes you confess, it no longer matters. And here’s a catch: YOU can never lie to police. Never confess — it does not help you.

Be Aware Of Your Body Language and Eye Movements

Be calm but conscious of your body language and eye movements. The police, especially interrogators, are very well trained in reading your body language and eye movements. These are involuntary movements that you make, and reveal your state of mind, and even indicate if you are lying or telling the truth. Remain calm, do not react to questions, and never offer any information or answer a question you do not want to.
  • Never confess or cooperate in a search — it does not help you and it will not make the justice system more lenient on you — EVER.
Did you know that 80% of the people in prison are they because they confessed and admitted to a crime? Some police interrogation tactics are so persuasive that innocent people have admitted to crimes they did not commit.
Most important: Remember that the justice system is never more lenient on you when you give up your rights. Confessing or cooperating will only make things harder on you. When you give up your rights, you also give up any hope of being treated fairly. Always be polite and courteous, but never cave in and never waive your rights. EVER


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