PDA

View Full Version : A Firearms Owner's Guide to Dealing with the Police


CaptainObvious
February 6, 2012, 02:33 PM
1. Stay calm and cool. Do not fail the "attitude" test. Do not ever talk back, raise your voice or use profanity. Do not move unless the officer says so. Do not move towards the police officer unless requested. Remember, your voice will be recorded and the scene might be on videotape. Control your words, tone and body language. Everything you do or say at that moment will be played back to a judge or jury later on or noted in a report. You might use your hands when you speak, but best practice is to leave them by your side or if in a vehicle on the steering wheel. Dont place your hands in your pockets and only move when the officer requests you to do so.

2. Always be silent...politely decline to answer questions or tell what happened. If the officer starts asking questions, politely say something to the effect of "I realize you are doing your job, but I do not want to answer questions." Show them your id, answer identification type questions, but do not answer questions or tell them what happened. If this is a situation where there is any chance you might get arrested, then do not answer their questions. This applies to all situations where you might get arrested and not just gun related. Let them arrest you and have your lawyer or the public defender deal with the situation later on.

3. Always refuse searches verbally, but never physically. If the officer asks to search your vehicle, yourself, your household or anything for that matter, politely state something to the effect of "I realize you are doing your job but I do not consent to any searches". If the officer just starts searching, then say to the officer politely and calmly you will not consent to searches. Never physically deny the officer access or get in their way. Obey the officer's commands, but make sure you tell them you do not consent to searches.

4. Don't get tricked. Police officer's are generally good people, but they have their ways of doing things. Never let a police officer's threats, kindness or promises trick you into waiving your rights. Review the top three rules and imagine different scenarios. A flashlight might be shined in your face, the officer might be talking fast and loud, the stress of the situation might lead you to waive your rights, etc. There might be a situation where the officer may seem like your friend and just trying to fill out a report. Do not be tricked. Do not consent to searches and stay silent. Tell them you will only give a statement under advisement of an attorney.

5. Do not wait for an officer to terminate an encounter if things seem to be taking too long. Politely ask if you are free to go. Only leave if the officer says you can go. "Am I being detained or am I free to go?"

6. Do not expose yourself. Do not give reasons for the police to engage you. For example, lets say you have that hunting axe from the last trip out on the seat in the passenger's compartment which you have been too lazy to put away. Always ask yourself if you are exposing yourself to police scrutiny. A common thing nowadays is the cell phone. When police
see anything in your hand which looks like a cell phone then that gives them enough cause to stop you. Bumper stickers for the NRA or rifle club may seem innocent to some, but that might make the police extra jumpy
if they have to stop and deal with you.

7. Never run from an officer. Resistance is futile. Once they have you, there is no escape. Do not resist an officer physically, block their way, touch the officer, etc.

8. Never touch an officer. This should need no further explanation, however, there are some people who have certain reflexes where they might touch someone when they talk or as a result of being touched. Keep your hands by your side and never touch, even innocently, a police officer. If you get frisked, the officers hands might brush up against private places. No matter what, never touch an officer even innocently.

9. Do not invite officers into your home, business or vehicle. If officers are called to your home then simply step outside, close the door and deal with them. Only verbally deny access, do not physically deny access in any way. When stopped in a vehicle, roll the window down only enough to pass out documents. This will prevent the officer from goose necking their head in the vehicle. Roll down the window the rest of the way only if requested. Many times an officer will ask in an innocent manner if they can do a check of your vehicle or home. Always say no. Do not consent to searches.

10. Never lie to an officer. There are only two things you can say to an officer which is either nothing at all or the truth. Untrue stories will always get you into more trouble. In some states, it may even be illegal to lie to an officer.

11. Never profess innocence/never profess guilt. For obvious reasons, you should not confess to an officer or talk about what you did or did not do. Statements of guilt or innocence are best delivered under the direction of an attorney. Professing innocence might anger the officer. Maintain silence and do not answer questions.

12. Lectures. If you are getting a lecture, then listen quietly and intently. When an officer is in lecture mode, then you are probably about to get let go with a warning. For example, you violated one of the many hunting regulations out there unknowingly. Listen to the lecture, do not interupt or express disagreement. Stay silent and pay attention.

13. Vehicle stops- When stopped in a vehicle, keep your hands on the wheel until the officer requests an item like your license. Tell the officer where the license is and then slowly get it. It is generally a good idea to store these documents in a place where its easy to retrieve them and not in an area where you store your private items like firearms. Depending upon the law, you might be required to tell the officer that you have a firearm. However, if the law does not require you to tell the officer then do not tell them. If you tell them and let them search your vehicle then you are essentially giving up your rights. Of course, if your private documents are in a compartment where a firearm is kept and the officer is going to see it anyway then there its a good idea to let them know.

14. Straight Face Courtesy Always A smile can be misconstrued as mocking the officer. A frown, sad or angy face can also be taken in the wrong way. Maintain a straight face and always be courteous by saying hello, goodbye, please and thank you. However, being courteous does not include waiving your rights. Refer back to the earlier parts of this thread...stay silent/politely refuse to answer questions, verbally (not physically) refuse searches, ask if you are free to go and ask for an attorney when being arrested.

15. The cost of an attorney should never figure into your thinking. Some people will think they cannot afford an attorney and therefore try to cooperate with the police thereby waiving their legal rights. Remember, paying back an attorney 20,000 in legal costs will be much easier then spending years in prison. An attorney is like a doctor, if you need to get one then you need to get one and the cost shouldnt matter. They are the only ones who can help you in these situations.

16. When moving from one political boundary to another, there is most always a change in firearms laws. Before you travel to a different state, county or city, always research the law. If you are forced down into non-firearms friendly territory, i.e. American Airlines sending you to JFK in NYC on one of those diverts, then refer back to #15 and call an attorney immediately. Always assume there will be a change in firearms laws moving across any political boundary. Become an expert on the law. When in doubt, leave your firearms at home.

R1145
February 6, 2012, 03:06 PM
I hate it when I get a bonehead who talks himself into jail on something that could just be a citation (or even a verbal warning).

I would add that an officer has the right to identify you if you are stopped on a law enforcement contact, and failure to do so (or to do so falsely) is a crime.

Also, don't refuse to sign a ticket, for the same reason.

Conversely, in a serious situation, don't be afraid to get arrested if that's the price of keeping your mouth shut, just don't jerk around on the ID thing.

trex1310
February 6, 2012, 10:08 PM
Very good advice. I was involved in a self defense shooting a
few years ago and my attorney was a godsend. My attorney did all
the talking to the police. My weapon was returned to me and I went
home.

ScottRiqui
February 6, 2012, 10:13 PM
Very good advice. You don't have to be guilty for a lawyer to be a good idea. If you find yourself in police custody, understand that for you, this is probably a new and unfamiliar experience, while the police do this literally every day. Don't take a chance on saying the wrong thing (or even just phrasing something poorly) and having your statements coming back to bite you later.

MarkDozier
February 7, 2012, 03:37 AM
While most of it is good. unless you are driving or carrying conceled there is no requirement to carry or produce identification. If you think there is show me the written codified requirement for it.

ltc444
February 7, 2012, 03:43 AM
Captain Obvious.

I give you my highest verbal award for your post.

TRULY OUTSTANDING. Flesh this post out and submit as an article to some gun mags. This is a must read for every firearms owner and user.

MTT TL
February 7, 2012, 07:01 AM
While most of it is good. unless you are driving or carrying conceled there is no requirement to carry or produce identification. If you think there is show me the written codified requirement for it.

You don't. Unless of course the officer is stopping you in the course of an investigation of some kind, based upon reasonable suspicion. How do you know if he is doing that? You ask him. Otherwise he is under no duty to tell you.

Remember people who are innocent and guilty get upset and defensive when they find out the police are investigating them. This changes their attitudes and what they say. Therefore the police generally prefer to keep encounters cordial. If you press him on it he may or may not tell you what he is doing.

This was upheld in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada.

Good post, although I find the base source of your rules amusing on many levels.

ThorInc
February 7, 2012, 07:21 AM
Great post with solid advice !

HTC Vision Custom

skoro
February 7, 2012, 07:46 AM
Good advice.

"Officer, I fully intend to cooperate after I've consulted an attorney."

Kevin Rohrer
February 7, 2012, 08:01 AM
"Officer, I fully intend to cooperate after I've consulted an attorney."

Officer: "That's fine with me. You can call him from Booking".


My suggestion: Treat him as you would want to be treated.

Kevin Rohrer
February 7, 2012, 08:11 AM
From seeing the original poster's stats, it looks like he has an agenda. We won't be seeing many more posts from him. :rolleyes:

Skadoosh
February 7, 2012, 08:20 AM
From seeing the original poster's stats, it looks like he has an agenda. We won't be seeing many more posts from him.

Based on the two posts from the OP, he seems to have only one agenda...to offer up good advice based on some kind of working knowledge of law enforcement and the legal process.

Skans
February 7, 2012, 08:47 AM
While I mostly agree with the OP's advice - I'd say its 100% dead on in 90% of the situations.

However, there are times (very limited) when telling the officer(s) exactly what happened will work to your advantage. There are times you may need to make a judgment call and let the officers search you.

I'm saying this at the risk of getting flamed by the lawyers on here who may have defended many cases that went bad because the defendant didn't follow the above advice, as well as from individuals who are speaking from their own experience. They are not wrong. Believe me, I am aware of all of this. BUT, a strict set of guidelines does not apply to every situation. They are good to keep in mind, but you still need to think, make judgment calls and occasionally the situation calls for deviating from that advice.

grumpa72
February 7, 2012, 08:48 AM
Captainobvious,

Not so obvious is what credentials do you present that says that this is anything other than "cut and paste" of accumulated ideas from the internet? Are you an attorney, a cop, a judge or ...

A few, very few, of your points hold water imo but I would like to know where you are coming from.

respectfully,
grumpa72

Skadoosh
February 7, 2012, 09:06 AM
A few, very few, of your points hold water imo but I would like to know where you are coming from.

...which points dont hold water?

grumpa72
February 7, 2012, 10:00 AM
Skadoosh,
If you noticed, I said "IMO" which means in my opinion and therefore applies to me. I have no intention of getting into a debate with you about someone else's post. The author is free to point out his advice but I was merely asking him what his credentials were that caused the posting. If I give flying advice I would hope someone asks if I am a pilot. If I give medical advice I would hope someone asks if I am a doctor.

nuff said,

respectfully,
grumpa72

ChuckS
February 7, 2012, 10:19 AM
6....Always ask yourself if you are exposing yourself to police scrutiny. A common thing nowadays is the cell phone. When police
see anything in your hand which looks like a cell phone then that gives them enough cause to stop you. ...

This doesn't hold water, IMHO. "Cell phone" (or any recording/video equipment) does not equal RAS.

In fact, I would recommend a recording device be turned on prior to the encounter. LEO's, in their official capacity, have no expectation of privacy, BTW.

Now on the other hand if the poster is implying that a device in the hand may be (mis)construed as a weapon, then I would agree.

Other than that, very much dead on in most cases and the safe route in all cases. Thanks a bunch to the OP.

Skadoosh
February 7, 2012, 10:22 AM
Grumpa72,

Many people come here to learn. If you have some insight or disagree with what the OP stated .... and take the time time to say as much, what's keeping you from educating us?

Carne Frio
February 7, 2012, 11:20 AM
Here is a great video coving this subject.
Part one is by the lawyer and part two is
a law enforcement officer. It's very well done.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik

2damnold4this
February 7, 2012, 11:42 AM
This doesn't hold water, IMHO. "Cell phone" (or any recording/video equipment) does not equal RAS.

In fact, I would recommend a recording device be turned on prior to the encounter. LEO's, in their official capacity, have no expectation of privacy, BTW.

Now on the other hand if the poster is implying that a device in the hand may be (mis)construed as a weapon, then I would agree.

I think the OP might be thinking about police seeing a cell phone or something that looks like a cell phone in your hand while driving. That could give them probable cause to stop you in a state that prohibits texting while driving or cell phone use while driving.

As to recording encounters with the police, I agree that they should have no expectation of privacy when performing their jobs in public. Unfortunately, recording a police officer without consent of the officer can get you arrested in some states.

ThorInc
February 7, 2012, 02:01 PM
Does it really matter what the intent or perceived purpose is, it's still good advice in 90% of an objective situation........

Vermonter
February 7, 2012, 02:52 PM
I do believe that this is awesome advise when it comes to the use of a Firearm in personal defense. However in a routine traffic stop I see no reason to be so stand offish. I have a long thread here in T&T regarding "pulled over while CCW"

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=471121

Many who responded shared my view that it was in fact best to let an officer know you were carrying to avoid any supprises.

Thanks, Vermonter

grumpa72
February 7, 2012, 03:30 PM
Skadoosh,
Ok, again, I am not willing to debate you here. Let's assume that I agree with all the OPs points. What credentials does he possess that leads one to assume his knowledge is correct, not internet lore, and not going to get me into more trouble than I already am? I guess I need to get stopped by the police at least once to understand the (assumed) paranoia. Again, when giving advice, it is usually normal (in my world) to present evidence that you know what you are talking about. My wife can give teaching advice, my neighbor can give medical advice, my friend can give financial advice etc, because they can back up their statements with credibility and ability.

No more comments from me on this post. To the OP, thank you for your opinion.

nate45
February 7, 2012, 03:45 PM
Here is a great video coving this subject.
Part one is by the lawyer and part two is
a law enforcement officer. It's very well done.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik


Never talk to the police, without the advise and consent of an attorney.

The video Carne Frio links too is very good, very accurate information.

If you are innocent, or guilty it matters not which, it is not in your interests to answer police questions without an attorney.

Skadoosh
February 7, 2012, 04:39 PM
Grumpa, wisdom is the by-product of experience, not credentials.

MTT TL
February 7, 2012, 05:01 PM
I guess you all missed the hint from my original post.

Possibly this strategy is in use by another group interested in civil liberties of a different type.

Frank Ettin
February 7, 2012, 05:10 PM
...Never talk to the police, without the advise and consent of an attorney...Often, but not always, good advice.

If Claiming Self Defense, Keeping Completely Quiet Is Not the Best Idea, But Don't Say Too Much.

Call 911. Be the first to report the incident and do so immediately. If you don't report it, or if there's a long delay, you will appear to have a guilty conscience.

Then, having taken LFI-I with Massad Ayoob, spending time with him and helping with a class of his in Sierra Vista, AZ not too long ago, I'll go along with his recommendation for when the police arrive.

[1] While one has a right to remain silent, clamming up is what the bad guys do. Following a self defense incident, you'll want to act like one of the good guys. You also won't want the investigating officers to miss any evidence or possible witnesses. What if the responding officers miss your assailant's knife that you saw fall down the storm drain? What if they don't know about the guy you saw pick up your assailant's gun and walk off with it?

[2] The police arrive and see a body on the ground with bullet holes in it, and they see you with a gun nearby. They will immediately be inclined to think of the ventilated corpse as The Victim and the guy still standing as The Attacker. But you're really the victim, and you'd prefer the police to have that in their minds as they begin their investigation.

[3] At the same time, you don't want to say too much. You will most likely be rattled. You will also most likely be suffering from various well known stress induced distortions of perception.

[4] So Massad Ayoob recommends:

Saying something like, "That person (or those people) attacked me." You are thus immediately identifying yourself as the victim. It also helps get the investigation off on the right track.
Saying something like, "I will sign a complaint." You are thus immediately identifying the other guys(s) as the criminal(s).
Pointing out possible evidence, especially evidence that may not be immediate apparent. You don't want any such evidence to be missed.
Pointing out possible witnesses.
Then saying something like, "I'm not going to say anything more right now. You'll have my full cooperation in 24 hours, after I've talked with my lawyer."

nate45
February 7, 2012, 05:18 PM
Thats all good advice fiddletown, I suppose I wasn't clear enough.

I didn't me it to pertain to an initial statement(careful statement), or answering routine questions in a traffic stop, etc.

I meant when one is about to undergo formal questioning.

Answering questions when you are a suspect, or potential suspect, without an attorney, is a bad move.

moxie
February 7, 2012, 06:22 PM
Agree with skans and vermonter.

In minor situations where you are confident of your innocence, there is no reason not to answer simple questions and possibly consent to a search as well. The alternative, to just let yourself get arrested, is not something I, IMHO, want to happen when a simple explanation might address the officer's concern. A simple arrest on your record can be a huge negative even if nothing happens because of it. I have and will invite an officer into my home as well.

No, I believe a measure of reasonable cooperation is fine unless you know you are under some sort of scrutiny or know you have done something "wrong."

Obambulate
February 7, 2012, 07:22 PM
moxie, there's absolutely no reason to invite an on-duty officer into your home. Nothing good can come of it. You don't what the officer knows, and an innocent item could put you in prison.

For instance, the officer sees a candy dish your wife bought 30 years ago. No problem, right? But how could you know if it's a problem or not? Let's say a dish exactly like that was taken during a home invasion and murder.

Now the officer has reasonable suspicion to take your house apart in a search for other evidence. You become a "person of interest", your phone records are scrutinized, your travel history is investigated, etc.

Uh-oh, turns out you were in Pittsburgh the same weekend of the murder. There's no evidence connecting you directly to the murder, but the prosecutor is able to build a circumstantial case against you.

The most innocent things begin to look sinister. The prosecutor paints you in the worst way in front of the jury. You can see the scorn and hatred in the jury's faces. Your attorney THINKS he can get you off, but can't guarantee you won't be put away for 20 years. He advises you to take a plea bargain, 3 years plus probation.

All this because you let the officer in rather than talk to him out on the porch.

Vermonter
February 7, 2012, 08:38 PM
Good lord now my off duty friends are looking for candy dishes. Is it really that scary to folks to deal with police?

CaptainObvious
February 7, 2012, 08:43 PM
Moxie said:
In minor situations where you are confident of your innocence, there is no reason not to answer simple questions and possibly consent to a search as well. The alternative, to just let yourself get arrested, is not something I, IMHO, want to happen when a simple explanation might address the officer's concern. A simple arrest on your record can be a huge negative even if nothing happens because of it. I have and will invite an officer into my home as well.

Police officers generally question people who they suspect have committed a crime. You might think answering their questions or letting them search your property is innocent and will get you out of being arrested, however, you are establishing probable cause for an arrest through your statements and from the basis of a search. I would say that by answering questions and letting them search your property you are MORE likely to get arrested then if you politely told them "I wish to remain silent and consult with an attorney" and did not consent to the search.

Police searches are usually messy. They might take everything out of your car or empty out bags on the ground. Your private belongings will be sifted through thoroughly. There might even be illegal stuff in there which you have no knowledge. Do you have teenagers? When I went to high school, I knew guys who left marijuana in their parents car. There might be stuff from a previous owner, a valet, someone who used the car before, etc.

There have been quite a few firearms owners who thought they did everything right, but then they ended up in big trouble. For example, Harold Fish. Mr. Fish's first mistake was talking to the police detective. Mr Fish thought he did nothing wrong and talking to the police was the best practice. However, each time Mr. Fish repeated the story it would change slightly. Most stories do change slightly as you keep telling them. Mr. Fish should have only communicated to the police through an attorney. He should have never met with them on his own. What seemed like a routine matter turned into Mr. Fish getting charged and convicted of murder.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15199221/ns/dateline_nbc-crime_reports/t/trail-evidence/

So even in situations which seem minor or where you believe you did nothing wrong, my opinion is not to say anything at all. You dont have to be standoffish or rude. Simply state to the officer you would like to remain silent. You will find more people get arrested as a result of saying too much rather then just staying silent.

Frank Ettin
February 7, 2012, 10:21 PM
...There have been quite a few firearms owners who thought they did everything right, but then they ended up in big trouble. For example, Harold Fish. Mr. Fish's first mistake was talking to the police detective... Actually, to be more specific, Fish's mistake was saying too much too soon. For recommendations on handling a police contact after having fired a gun in what you believe to have been self defense, see post my post 28, above.

B.N.Real
February 8, 2012, 01:17 AM
Obey the law before you are stopped.

If you were breaking it,just admit it and don't take it out of the officer when you were being an idiot to begin with.

Talk to the officer like he's a human being because he is.

Don't be all paranoid.

Only answer the questions asked.

If the officer cuts you a break-just say thank you and be on your way.

If you get a ticket and you know you deserved it,just man up,and pay the consequences.

As far as dealing with the police after a self defense shooting-after reading what I've read here,I'd almost have to say-tell the officers,"I have to get an attorney first and I'll gladly meet you at the station when I can get one to represent me in this matter."

But the officers will ask you questions becuase they need to hear from you why you shot this guy that was attacking you.

I just don't see how you can say-"I'll talk you you at the station with an attorney" on that.

That puts up a red flag to the officers that you might have not been right in what you did.

I hope I never have to deal with that.

Glenn Dee
February 8, 2012, 05:22 AM
WOAH! WOAH!......WOAH!

What kind of lives are some of yall leading?...lol Stop worrying about the police...lol The police should be the least of your problems. As one poster said so intelligently... Treat the police the same way you want to be treated. 99 and 9/10ths of all cops are on your side. No cop wants to get a civilian complaint for harassment, or abuse of authority. More often than not if they do interact with you it's based upon information or complaint from one of your neighbors.

Obambulate
February 8, 2012, 05:58 AM
If only it was that simple. The police are allowed to lie to us, but we are not allowed to lie to them.

They also can and do use intimidation, and they're very good at it: "Your refusal to let me search your trunk makes me think you've got something to hide. Don't make me get a warrant."

Most people will open their trunk, not knowing their rights. Bottom line, if the cop has to ask permission, he has no legal right to search, and getting a warrant will be extremely difficult.

But I've got nothing to hide! Really? Do you KNOW that? Suppose your wife used the car to go to the garden center and now there's a shovel and some dirt in the trunk. And what's that roll of duct tape doing in there?

Also ,many of us keep a bug-out bag or get home bag in the trunk. It may or may not contain weapons or "burglary" tools, but it certainly makes it look like you're ready to go hide out in the woods at a moment's notice.

MLeake
February 8, 2012, 06:01 AM
A girlfriend of mine was stopped for a random gate check, years ago, after her high school aged son had borrowed the car.

He was playing a part in a school play, some medieval thing.

He'd left his props behind, in the trunk, which she did not realize.

Security was (luckily) pretty amused by the whip, leather mask, and manacles, but not as amused by the broadsword... Fortunately, the situation was resolved in a sensible manner.

Point being, it might be a good idea to periodically see what you actually have in your trunk, especially if others have access to the vehicle.

bds32
February 8, 2012, 07:43 AM
From an LEO perspective, I think it is a good to evaluate the circumstances and determine what is in your best interests. Absolutes can cost you an unnecessary trip to the jail, whether or not you ultimately face prosecution. The standard for probable cause is much lower than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Total silence on your part may give the investigating officer nothing to work with to show you acted in the right. He may have no choice but to stick you in the jail for the night (that might be fine with you). For shootings, I like the advice posted regarding Ayoob's information. You should be an advocate for your own cause by showing some cooperation. Nothing wrong will stating that you will be giving a full statement under advice of an attorney. Heck, we afford our police officers that same treatment when they are involved in a shooting. All citizens are free to remain silent at all times in all situations. However, if you are truly innocent of criminal activity, and you are in the right emotional state, talking to the police will usually help your cause.

Skans
February 8, 2012, 08:29 AM
If you are innocent, or guilty it matters not which, it is not in your interests to answer police questions without an attorney.

Never say never. This is not correct 100% of the time. Prosecutors do talk to arresting officers and listen to their input (sometimes) in determining whether, and to what extent, to work out a plea deal. The impression you gave the arresting officer may have a substantial impact on the final resolution of your case. Remember, most criminal infractions never get to trial, especially when it involves someone without a prior record.

However, it is true that far more cases are made against criminal defendants primarily based on what they've said to the arresting officers. Generally speaking, a person would be better off politely refusing to answer questions without an attorney............but not always.

CaptainObvious
February 8, 2012, 08:48 AM
I wrote this thread for law abiding, well intentioned firearms owners who find themselves in situations with the police and that is the spirit of the thread.

I mentioned earlier Harold Fish which is a good example of a law abiding, well intentioned firearms owner who got in trouble with the law. Another example is Brian Aitken where during the course of moving from one residence to the other found himself being arrested by the police because of the unloaded firearms in his trunk which were being transported.

http://reason.com/archives/2010/11/15/brian-aitkens-mistake

Brian's first mistake was going back to talk to the police without consulting with an attorney. When he received that phonecall, he should have told them that he would like to speak with an attorney first. Then when the police started searching his car he should have voiced out loud that he does not consent to the search. Before meeting with the police he should have dropped off the firearms at his new home which goes back to not exposing yourself.

A firearms owner can protect themselves from these occurences by following what I posted originally which is:
- Stay calm

- Don't answer questions and exercise your right to stay silent to the greatest extent.

- Do not consent to searches and verbally state such. Don't invite the police into your home, car or business.

- Speak to an attorney first before speaking to the police. Let an attorney be your guide through the process rather then the police or prosecutor

- Do not expose yourself

- Know the law

Think out a strategy now before you find yourself in a Brian Aitken or Harold Fish scenario. Figure out a way not to get into these situations in the first place.

OuTcAsT
February 8, 2012, 09:47 AM
Is it really that scary to folks to deal with police?

Depends on the situation, If it's just a simple traffic stop, no problem.

If it is the aftermath of a self defense encounter, then it can be very scary indeed. What I say, or do, can, and will be used against me. I am not a Lawyer so, I would like someone who is more competent in such matters to advise me in such a potentially ambiguous situation.

Stop worrying about the police...lol The police should be the least of your problems.

Unfortunately, anywhere outside Mayberry , that's not the case.

99 and 9/10ths of all cops are on your side.

I don't like those odds... and;

The police are allowed to lie to us, but we are not allowed to lie to them.

They also can and do use intimidation, and they're very good at it

Yup.

Skans
February 8, 2012, 11:22 AM
I have to say that I really like BDS32's perspective on this!

However, I also appreciate much of what Captain Obvious stated. I really think you can subscribe to both of these bits of advice. Good points made by both (IMHO), which are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

AH.74
February 8, 2012, 12:23 PM
I have a little printout in my wallet. It says this:

MACE-SAW

M- Medical attention- ask for it whether you think you need it or not
A- Attacker- identify the attackers
C- Criminal complaint- offer to sign one
E- Evidence- point out any that may be overlooked

S- Searches- do not consent to any
A- Attorney- you wish to make no further statements without one
W- Witnesses- point out any to responding police

I think this boils a lot of the info in this thread down in a good, simple manner.

Frank Ettin
February 8, 2012, 12:41 PM
...Medical attention- ask for it whether you think you need it or not...Not a good idea. Asking for medical attention without a good faith belief that it is necessary can severely damage your credibility. (And of course, the police will no doubt find that card on which you remind yourself ask for medical attention whether you need it or not.)

Ruark
February 8, 2012, 01:26 PM
"However in a routine traffic stop I see no reason to be so stand offish. "

Exactly. Cops have a high enough stress level without pulling over some guy for a broken tail light and then putting up with a bunch of "I'm not speaking until I have an attorney" nonsense. Just be freaking polite, he's just doing his job.

zincwarrior
February 8, 2012, 01:41 PM
Exactly. Cops have a high enough stress level without pulling over some guy for a broken tail light and then putting up with a bunch of "I'm not speaking until I have an attorney" nonsense. Just be freaking polite, he's just doing his job.

His job is not to help you. His job does not trump your fundamental rights. Further, you can be polite AND STILL protect those rights.

Vermonter
February 8, 2012, 01:46 PM
Ok I can see the different angle here but still. I figure that if I ever truly need a firearm in a SD situation I will be shaken up, uneasy, possibly actually in need of medical attention etc.

I would think it would only be propper to give a statment of generalities to help the responding officers understand what they are dealing with. They are going to want to secure the area and they are surley going to want to know if anyone is at large.

Making no statment at all without a lawyer kindof gets in the way here doesn't it?

DasGuy
February 8, 2012, 01:59 PM
I don't understand the whole "never say anything to the police".

Say you're in some convience store and the only other person in there is the clerk. Say some bad guy comes in and murders the clerk. You're able to get your firearm out and defend yourself without getting killed; bad guy dies in the process. When the police show up, there's 3 people in the store, 2 of which are dead and the only non dead person has a gun and refuses to talk.

I don't know about the rest of you; but I'd rather have the police on my side from the start and cooperate, to an extent. I'd just give the basics. Something like "That guy came into the store and murdered the clerk. I had to shoot him to defend my life. I'm really emotionally stressed right now, so I'm having a hard time dealing with what just happened and I can't really go into all of the details right now". That way the police at least have some idea of what happened and you're not risking giving out any incorrect info that could be used against you later.

Here's another scenario:

You're walking down the street and some bad guy pulls a knife on you and threatens your life. You make distance, get your gun out and shoot him. He is alive when the police get there. He tells them that all he was doing was waiting around for his Grandma so he could walk her across the street when suddenly, this crazy gun nut (you) pulled a gun on him and shot him for no reason at all. You sit there only saying "I want my lawyer". Who do you think the police will believe?

CaptainObvious
February 8, 2012, 06:04 PM
Dasguy said:
"I don't understand the whole "never say anything to the police"."

When you say something, anything, to the police then it becomes permanent record which later on you or your attorney will have to defend. So to avoid your words becoming permanent record you don't say anything at all. Also, emotions, body language, etc. will become part of the permanent record. The officer may mention how you were fidgeting, moving, becoming emotional, erratic etc. in a report or it may be recorded on video. You or your attorney will have to explain this body language to a judge or jury as well.

When the police show up, they have to have probable cause to make an arrest. Here is a simple example that is easy to understand. Before an officer can make an arrest for a DUI and put you on the official breathalyzer at their police station in my state, they need to have probable cause. To develop that probable cause, they will ask a series of questions such as "Have you been drinking?" and then ask you to submit to certain field sobriety tests. In my state, the driver does not have to answer that question or submit to the field sobriety tests. The officer, however, does not tell the driver that answering these questions and taking those tests are optional. The only thing that is not optional is the breathalyzer at the police station...the handheld breathalyzer is optional in my state. I have known quite a few people who knew the law and refused to answer any questions or take these optional tests and their arrests were invalidated.

Your defense starts when the police show up. It was talked about earlier in this thread about legal qualifications and thats a good point. You are not qualified to make decisions on what should be said to the police. Only a licensed attorney with specific criminal court experience or the public defender is qualified to make these types of decisions. If you decide to defend yourself and start making statements, then you are putting your life in your own hands. Imagine being placed in a jail or prison cell like Brian or Harold.

The police are not bad people and some you may even want to be friends with on the side. However, they have their instructions on what to do and, these days, most everything they do is on video or audio which can easily be scrutinized by their superiors later on. Therefore, they are going to follow their training and instructions. In this modern age of video and audio, their discretion is limited. You have no idea what statements made to the police will compound the situation. On the other hand, the police know which statements will compound your situation and it is not their job to tell you which statements will make it worse.

If you just shot someone, pulled a firearm on someone or committed any kind of battery or assault or any other crime where you might spend one day in jail for, then your best bet is not to say anything at all. Stand there quietly, peacefully, and tell the officer "I wish to remain silent". Do not launch into explanations of what happened. Get yourself an attorney immediately or work with the public defender, but do not make any statements or answer questions.

If you have to spend a night or so in jail then so be it. If you have been out on a hunting or camping trip then you will probably have stayed in lesser accomodations. Dont be scared to spend a night in jail. Just know that whatever you say at that moment can and probably will be used against you. You might feel a little unsocial about not saying anything or you might feel you are disrespecting the officer by not helping them complete their report on this matter. Don't worry about that. Think of yourself. The officer is going to go home at the end of their shift to their family and that report they write is just another thing they are paid to do. On the other hand, your freedom is at stake in these matters and you are not qualified to speak to the police.

In the situation above with the store which was robbed and you just shot someone. I would tell the police "I wish to remain silent and want to talk to an attorney." Hand them your license or identification and don't say anything more. Launching into an explanation about how stressed you are is not advisable. A Detective or experienced officer will probably thoroughly investigate the crime scene. They can talk to your attorney about the situation in the days to come and then they can complete their report on the matter at that time.

It is not the officer's job to believe someone. It is the judge or jury's job to believe someone and make a judgement. Do not worry about how guilty you might look if you immediately tell them you want an attorney. The fact that you desired an attorney immediately cannot be used against you in court. That is your right.

Jeff22
February 8, 2012, 06:38 PM
You're certainly better off to make a brief statement to the police after any self defense incident you're in. Give the first responding officers a brief synopsis, so they can get on with the investigation. If you decide to make a short statement to the police, make it to a supervisor or the case detective. You don't want to make multiple statements. One will do fine.

Police officers are trained to make a brief factual statement after any shooting incident they're involved in. It is often referred to as a "public safety statement" and deals only with the relevant information needed to deal with the incident and to protect the scene. Such as, how many suspects were there? How were they dressed? If some escaped, which way did they go? Are there any witnesses around? Are there items of evidence around that need to be protected and recovered? Does anybody need medical attention?

You don't have to give them your life story and you probably won't be able to remember all the details about the incident, so DO NOT try to go into great detail. But a brief statement is probably in your best interests. You have to survive the initial incident, and then you have to survive the investigation, and then you have to survive any potential civil litigation.

If you respond to the police in the same way that they are trained to do when involved in a self-defense shooting, it may help them reach an understanding that you were indeed acting appropriately under the circumstances. If you lie to a cop, or try to hide something from a cop, or if they perceive that you are trying to hide something, they respond like sharks do when they smell blood in the water . . . you do NOT want that to happen to you. Nor do you want to talk too much, nor make multiple statements about what happened to multiple investigators. The more you think this stuff through in advance, the better off you will be.

You should locate an attorney locally who has some expertise and understanding of self-defense issues, and talk to him soon. Get an understanding of how the law works in YOUR STATE and also what the actual "prosecutorial climate" is toward self-defense incidents is in YOUR LOCATION. Find out who the local police union uses as legal counsel for officers involved in a self-defense shooting.

Remember, most cops and most prosecutors (and most defense attorneys) don't have that much experience investigating legitimate self defense shootings, because they don't happen all that often in most jurisdictions. So you need to do some research ahead of time.

IN THE GRAVEST EXTREME by Massad Ayoob remains the standard work on the legal issues of self defense. It was written in 1980 and needs to be updated, but most of the legal information in there is still valid.

How much do you tell the police after you are involved in a self-defense shooting? A lot depends on how the self-defense issue is addressed in the laws of YOUR STATE. (look your laws up. Don't depend on somebody to tell you what they are, or what they think they are. look them up yourself. Depending upon how the statutes are organized, sometimes it's hard to find them on the web, and you may have to go look at the hard copy of the statutes down at the public library)

Where I live (Wisconsin), there is no "right" to self defense in the statutes -- self defense is an AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE, where basically you are saying "Yes, I shot the guy in self defense AND THIS IS WHY." (Our statutes use the term "privilege" to define instances where otherwise unlawful acts are justified; such as the use of force in self defense) If there are witnesses that can support your actions, or evidence that would prove that events happened the way you said they did, YOU need to point this stuff out to officer friendly when he gets there. DO NOT presume that the cops will find this stuff on their own. Most cops, even detectives, do not investigate legitimate self-defense shootings very often. This means they may overlook evidence that is beneficial to your case. This may also mean that they mis-interpret events, because they're NOT familiar with this kind of investigation.

Don't misconstrue the suggestion that you should make a statement to the police to mean that you need to make a detailed statement at the scene of the incident. That is probably NOT a good idea.

What you need to do is sometimes referred to as a "public safety statement" -- that's what cops are often required to give at the scene of an incident they are involved in. It would be simple -- something like "I was gassing my car up and a guy appeared out of the darkness with a knife and he tried to rob me and he threatened me with the knife and began to advance and my escape route was cut off and I was in fear for my life and I shot at him to defend myself." Just a simple explanation of the incident. Don't go into great detail at the time, because you'll probably be too upset. Wait until you have counsel before you make a DETAILED statement, but tell the investigating officers SOMETHING -- a brief synopsis of events.

You will be handling it the same way that most police unions tell their officers to respond in such an investigation -- a brief description of events, followed by "I prefer not to make any more statements until I've had the advice of counsel".

Of course, all situations are different. And I don't know how the police and prosecutors handle incidents like this where you live. To make a determination about the "prosecutorial climate" in your locale, DON'T depend on anything written in the newspaper. Articles in the newspaper or features on television are not (generally) prepared by people who know anything about the law or tactics or much of anything else. They're just newspaper or TV reporters, NOT subject matter experts about anything. Most of the stuff you read in the papers has significant errors in it, not because the news media are participants in some vast conspiracy, but because THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE WRITING ABOUT. So don't depend on the media to get the facts straight on anything.

And don't depend on advice you hear from some gunshop commando or some guy you ran into at the gun show. A regular general practice attorney probably won't be of much use as a reference, either. You'll need to talk to somebody who specializes in this kind of criminal defense. And DON'T depend on advice from the cop who lives down your street. Absent specialized training, they won't know either! They may (or may not) be familiar with the policy of their police department, and how the police union advises them to act after being involved in an incident, but they probably WILL NOT have good advice for the private citizen in a similar situation.

(It seems that people who have a few seconds to realize that they're in danger can usually maintain better mental track during the incident than those caught totally by surprise. And if you are wounded or sustain a significant injury, you are in no position to be talking at all.)

Remember, ANY STATEMENT YOU MAKE TO THE POLICE CAN BE USED AS EVIDENCE. The police only have to inform you of your privilege against testimonial self incrimination during a custodial arrest. There is a common misconception that "it doesn't count" if you have not provided and signed some kind of written statement, and this is incorrect.

When you make this brief statement, make it to the sergeant or the investigator who will be the primary investigator on the case. Don't explain to just any uniformed cop who happens by, because they may not be primary on the incident. And only give your statement once. The more you repeat it, the more likely it is that there will be inconsistencies, caused by the stress of the situation.

If you aren't sure that you can make a statement and then stop talking, then it might be best to say very little at all.

Always remember: Most police seldom if ever investigate a legitimate self-defense shooting incident. If you are uncooperative, it makes it that much harder for them to figure out what actually happened. Innocent people usually DO NOT invoke their rights against testimonial self incrimination -- they can't wait to tell the investigating officers all about what happened BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG! Right or wrong, cops equate "silence" with "guilt". You can rant and rave all you want about your "rights" but the first right you have is to be responsible for your actions!

That being said be careful what you say, but it's best that you give them a little bit of information so they can start the investigation, and then ask for your lawyer. If there is evidence or witnesses that can verify your side of the story, the police need to know that. You can't assume they're just going to magically figure it out for themselves. If you want to avoid a great deal of trouble, you're going to have to cooperate with the investigation in a limited and careful way. But be very careful what you say!

Just remember not to over-think this stuff: Your actions will be evaluated based on the information known to you at the time of the incident. Your perception of threat. Your perception of tactical options. Your decisions will be compared to those of a "reasonable man" under the same circumstances

Some of the instructors who primarily train the armed private citizen (like John Farnam & Massad Ayoob) always suggest that you find an attorney in your area (if possible) who specializes in defending private citizens in self defense cases, and at least pay to talk to them for an hour or two and get their interpretation of the law in your state and the "judicial climate" in your locality -- how police & prosecutors proceed in these kind of investigations, how the process works, what political issues may be at play, and etc. That's pretty good advice, with the qualifier that, in many locations, it'll be pretty hard to find an attorney with trial experience in this unusual area, because in most places there just aren't that many true self-defense shootings. A regular general practice attorney probably won't have any specialized training or experience in this area, and they may not know that they don't know, so it's always possible that you may get some bad advice.

You might want to consider talking to the counsel for the local police officer's union or association -- it's quite possible that the local police union attorney has had some specialized training in this area, or can point you in the direction of somebody who does have such training

Read your state statutes to see how the whole topic of "self defense" is addressed -- in common law states, it may not be mentioned in the statutes at all. In other states, statutes may define the circumstances under which a citizen can use force to defend life or property [In my home state, Wisconsin, it's defined by statute as "privilege" and defined thusly: "The fact that the actor's conduct is privileged, although otherwise criminal, is a defense to prosecution for any crime based on that conduct. The defense of privilege can be claimed under any of the following circumstances (2.) When the actor's conduct is in defense of persons or property under any of the circumstances described in 939.48 (Self-Defense and the Defense of others) or 939.49 ((Defense of Property)].

In most cases, as a citizen who uses force in self defense, the way to approach this is EXACTLY the way it's approached when a law enforcement officer uses force in self defense: the affirmative defense: Yes, I used force to defend myself, and this is why I am justified in doing what I did

Should you have the misfortune to be involved in a self-defense shooting, the issue is NOT in taking responsibility and explaining your actions to the first responding officers or to investigators. What you need to avoid is making statements "in the heat of the moment" that are confusing, or not what you meant to say, or not an accurate recitation of the facts as you perceived them. The stress of a deadly force encounter can cause the mind to work in strange ways.

So don't make any detailed statements until after you've talked to counsel. But yes, you should tell the cops a few things:

INTERACTION WITH THE FIRST RESPONDING POLICE OFFICERS
(1.) When they arrive, do exactly as they say. If they tell you to put your gun down, then put it down. If they handcuff you, don't resist. Self defense situations are very chaotic, and the average officer does not go to many incidents involving a legitimate display or delivery of force by a law-abiding citizen, so it may take them quite a while to figure out what's going on.
(2.) What do you tell the cops?
-- "This man tried to attack me"
-- "The evidence is here"
-- "The witnesses are here"
-- "I will sign the complaint"
-- "I will cooperate with the prosecution"
-- "I will cooperate with the investigation, but I'm kind of upset right now."
-- I will cooperate with the investigation and make a full statement after I've had time to gather my thoughts and speak to my attorney."
(3.) You need to give enough of a statement so that the police have an idea about what happened. In particular, they need to know who potential witnesses are and where relevant physical evidence might be located. At the scene, they need enough information to begin the investigation and properly manage the crime scene. Remember, the police equate silence with guilt! The only people who utilize the "right to remain silent" are those with something to hide, so a carefully worded statement is probably in your best interest.

moxie
February 8, 2012, 07:08 PM
It's a free country and you get to exercise your rights.

I would only add that, if you have a security clearance, or would like to get one, an arrest record, even if favorably adjudicated, can bring it all to an unpleasant end, or take so much time to adjudicate that you wish it would end.

Jeff22 makes a lot of good points.

hangglider
February 8, 2012, 07:18 PM
awesome common-sense suggestions, Jeff22

MTT TL
February 8, 2012, 07:31 PM
- Do not expose yourself

Now that is sound advice right there.

DasGuy
February 8, 2012, 07:54 PM
Does anyone have any documented cases of a person shooting in self defense and going with the "right to remain silent" approach? I always see it talked about; but I have yet to see it actually put in to practice and what eventually happens to the shooter.

I've heard about a few cases of people's cooperation working against them; but how does that compare to the total number of SD shootings where people cooperate? Do all of these SD shootings "gone wrong" make national media? I've read plenty of defense stories in "American Rifleman" that turn out well for the victims. How many of them talked to the police?

bds32
February 8, 2012, 08:33 PM
His job is not to help you.

I guess keeping the peace and enforcing the law is not designed to help you. How is that murderers, robbers, and rapists end up in a jail cell? I can tell you first hand that the fairy godmother doesn't put them there. Trained men and women do. They do it by seeking the truth in the encounters they engage in. In order to get the truth, they rely on the statements of citizens so that those statements can be compared to the available evidence. There is a reason that we get to walk around in relative peace, in most places in this nation. It is not because of the good will of all mankind. I agree that you should think about your circumstances and be careful about what you say to police because not all police officers have the best of intentions. Weigh your options and use your rights based on your culpability and conscience. However, there is nothing wrong with looking the man in the eye and telling him the absolute truth, particularly when you have done nothing unreasonable by anyone's interpretation. The police are not the enemy as many lawyers would have you believe.

MTT TL
February 8, 2012, 08:37 PM
However, there is nothing wrong with looking the man in the eye and telling him the absolute truth, particularly when you have done nothing unreasonable by anyone's interpretation.

How many citations do you want me to post of people who have done exactly that and either gone to prison or had their lives made a a living hell for doing nothing illegal? Just name a number (keeping in mind bandwidth limitations).

m&p45acp10+1
February 8, 2012, 08:52 PM
I have a lot of friends, and family members that are either LEO, or retired LEO. All will say the same things.

1 Be courteous. Do not argue, and awnser the simple questions. If you are being pulled over because you were speeding, do not show how much of an idiot you actualy are with comments like, "I refuse to awnser questions." "I will need to consult with my attorney." Statememnts like this say to an officer "I think I am smarter than you, and I am going to act like a jerk. I am going to try to cause the biggest scene, and start screaming lawsuit. "

2. Regardless of if you think they can or not. An LEO can frisk you. Refuse this and you are truly at thier mercy. You will be going to jail. If you fight them kiss your right to own guns good bye. You commited a felony. If taken before a jury you will be found guilty.

3. If they ask if they can search your vehicle. It is better to consent if you have nothing to hide, and nothing illegal in your vehicle. If you refuse to they can handcuff you, put you in the back of thier car, and wait for a magistrate to come, and sign a warrant to search if they believe there to be probable cause. Even if they do not find anything you are still cuffed in the back of a squad car. They can do it, and will not be able to do a thing about it.

4 Common sense prevents a lot of problems.

bds32
February 8, 2012, 08:53 PM
Yes, I would be interested to know about completely innocent persons who spoke to a police officer and went to prison soley for the reason that they spoke the absolute truth, without regard to any other circumstance in the case such as the actual facts of the investigation (including misidentifications, lying witnesses, corrupt police officers and prosecutors, faulty evidence, etc.) I can be persuaded.

MTT TL
February 8, 2012, 08:58 PM
Simple questions, simple answers:

- Do you know why I pulled you over?

Answer: "No."

Reasoning: Because you do not, as you are not a mind reader. Even if you were going 110 mph he might have pulled you over for a tail light. Tell him you were going 110 and he will write you a ticket.

- Where are you going today?

Answer: Could be a lot of places. Be consistent however with a single answer 1-3 word answer. He may ask you again or make reference to it later.

You get the idea.

CaptainObvious
February 8, 2012, 09:02 PM
Let me make a clarification as I see my words were not quoted in context. It is not the officer's job to help you with your case or your defense. They may help you in other ways, but they will not help you with your case or defense. The prosecutor or the judge will also not help you either.

Officers will most certainly get fired if they tell a lie. There are rare cases where officers do tell lies, but those who do are soon exposed, charged and fired. So if an officer is approaching you then they did see or hear something or maybe something was reported to them. When they approach you, they will be doing so as an official representative of the people and the state. It will be all business and they will not help you in the defense. They will not tell you what is optional or what is mandatory. For example, they wont tell you that you dont have to answer their questions. They may politely say "Can I do a check of your vehicle?" What they wont say is "Will you waive your rights and let me search your vehicle?"

If the red lights are on behind you or you find yourself in front of an officer with lots of questions, then you will find out sooner or later they might be building probable cause to give you at least a citation or at worse a felony arrest.

So you have to remember when an officer approaches, they mean business and they do so as a representative of the people/state. You have to treat this encounter in a business manner and handle it as professionally as they are handling it. The professional manner of handling such things is to let your attorney do the talking. The trouble with attorneys, however, is that they keep regular hours which means things may have to wait until the morning or the weekday while you sit in a cell. If you have to sit in a cell or if the officer can't finish their report for a few days, then so be it. The person or persons who will make the final determination is the judge or jury. They are the people that really count in these situations. One wrong statement or action can mean the difference between freedom and several years in prison.

MTT TL
February 8, 2012, 09:11 PM
Officers will most certainly get fired if they tell a lie. There are rare cases where officers do tell lies, but those who do are soon exposed, charged and fired.

Some are. Some are not. Don't be naive, there are bad people everywhere (or good people who do bad things?). Some don't get caught for years and some get busted the first time they do something stupid. Blanket statements are not a good idea when dealing with human nature.

nate45
February 8, 2012, 09:18 PM
3. If they ask if they can search your vehicle. It is better to consent if you have nothing to hide, and nothing illegal in your vehicle. If you refuse to they can handcuff you, put you in the back of thier car, and wait for a magistrate to come, and sign a warrant to search if they believe there to be probable cause. Even if they do not find anything you are still cuffed in the back of a squad car. They can do it, and will not be able to do a thing about it.

Thats terrible legal advice.

What to do when you get pulled over FLEX YOUR RIGHTS (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkpOpLvBAr8)

Police have no right to search locked compartments with out a warrant, unless you give them permission.

You can give up your constitutional rights and submit to an illegal search if you want to, but I never will.

MTT TL
February 8, 2012, 09:25 PM
I'd rather have them get a warrant and document it better like when the police planted drugs in that car last month in Utica while on video tape. Makes it tougher when on video tape.

m&p45acp10+1
February 8, 2012, 09:43 PM
Oh I never said they could search without your premission, or obtaining a warrant. I said if you have nothing to hide it will go much smoother to give consent. Yes they must either have consent, a warrant, or viable probable casue.

Well if you do not consent, the officer is well within thier rights to detain you while he is getting a warrant. That can include impounding your vehicle. You will pay the towing fee, and impoundment fee as well. All while handcuffed in the back seat of a squad car.

Becsue you decided "I have the right to make him get a warrant." It is now gonna cost more than an hour in handcuffs, and possibly an impoundment fee.

Failure to consent screams out one of two things.

1. I have something illegal in there.
2. I want to make your job difficult. (Yes you have the right to make them get a warrant. I have the right to walk in public resteraunt and loudly pass gas while walking past the table you are eating at. It does not mean it is a good idea to do so.)

nate45
February 8, 2012, 09:54 PM
Well if you do not the officer is within thier rights to detain you while he is getting a warrant. That can include impounding your vehicle. You will pay the towing fee, and impoundment fee as well. All while handcuffed in the back seat of a squad car.

Failure to consent screams out one of two things.

1. I have something illegal in there.
2. I want to make your job difficult. (Yes you have the right to make them get a warrant. I have the right to walk in public resteraunt and loudly pass gas while walking past the table you are eating at. It does not mean it is a good idea to do so.)

Police have no right to detain you because you refuse to consent to a search.

They have no right to search based on 'hunches'.

Refusing to consent to a search CAN NOT be used against you.

Refusing a search request is not an admission of guilt and does not give the officer the legal right to search or detain you. In fact, most avoidable police searches don't occur because police have probable cause. They occur because people get tricked or intimidated into consenting to search requests.

MTT TL
February 8, 2012, 10:01 PM
Yes you have the right to make them get a warrant. I have the right to walk in public resteraunt and loudly pass gas while walking past the table you are eating at. It does not mean it is a good idea to do so.

Interesting example that you note whereby exercising of constitutional rights is found to be equivalent to insulting a police officer. That is definitely noteworthy.

Not a good example either. The owner can throw me out for insulting his guests. He would be within his rights to do so. The police do not own the streets.

Willie Sutton
February 8, 2012, 10:27 PM
"The trouble with attorneys, however, is that they keep regular hours which means things may have to wait until the morning or the weekday while you sit in a cell."


This is why I traded my local criminal defense attorney $10K for his 24/7 cell number (trust me, they all have one). It's called a retainer... it's refundable upon my request, and guarantees that I already am represented should I require it. I consider it a savings account, with the "Interest" paid back to me in peace of mind. I carry as a licensed CCW holder, and I will absolutely use force to defend myself if required. I can also guarantee that after I shoot I'll make two calls: One to my attorney, and one to 911. I'll leave you to guess which one I'll call first.

I would definately tell a responding officer the following:

(1): I was attacked by the person I used force against.

(2): I defended myself (it's damned obvious anyhow)

(3): I am a licenced CCW holder, and my weapon is located "xx" (I guarantee I would not be holding it...)

(4): I'll be happy assist in the investigation, but prudence dictates that I am represented by an attorney before I make any other statement. "You know how lawsuit happy the families of these criminals can be, and I'd just prefer to make sure that I have someone representing me before I say anythng else"

And then shut up.

Sort of sets the tone, and is a way to smooth out the lawyering-up part of the day.




Willie

.

Nitesites
February 8, 2012, 10:38 PM
Whoever stated this...I have the right to walk in public restaurant and loudly pass gas while walking past the table you are eating at.I wouldn't be so sure of that lol. Take a look...http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=478_1312733100
:eek: Uh oh then :o Who did that? then :p Relief. You smelled it, you dealt it...

OldMarksman
February 9, 2012, 09:08 AM
Posted by CaptainObvious: If you just shot someone, pulled a firearm on someone or committed any kind of battery or assault or any other crime where you might spend one day in jail for, then your best bet is not to say anything at all. Stand there quietly, peacefully, and tell the officer "I wish to remain silent". That's good advice--unless you intend to claim self defense.

A successful defense of self defense will require evidence, and that evidence may disappear at the scene never to be found again unless the officer is aware of it. Remaining silent can greatly increase that possibility. Pointing out witnesses and evidence before they disappear can mitigate that risk.

Do not launch into explanations of what happened. Get yourself an attorney immediately or work with the public defender, but do not make any statements or answer questions. That is excellent advice.

Skans
February 9, 2012, 09:13 AM
Let me make a clarification as I see my words were not quoted in context. It is not the officer's job to help you with your case or your defense. They may help you in other ways, but they will not help you with your case or defense. The prosecutor or the judge will also not help you either.

This statement is not true. Although it is not an officer's job to help a person defend against an accusation of some criminal act, there are times an officer can and will provide beneficial testimony or information if the defendant was cooperative. This type of information will get back to the prosecutor and may very well influence the prosecutor (and the judge's) decision on how to dispose of the case, i.e: deferment program, outright dismissal, abatement and dismissal, adjudication withheld, etc.

Know your local/state laws (to the best of your ability);
Know the attitudes of your local police at least in the place(es) you spend the most time;
Use the things you've read in this thread as a good guide;
But, don't be a robot - THINK. You will have to make judgment calls based on what you think you may be accused of, the reaction of the officers, and probably 1000 other little things that no one can possibly explain or prepare you for. If you decide that providing as little information as possible before you get an attorney is in your best interest, try your best not to come off as a wise-ass.

CaptainObvious
February 9, 2012, 09:59 AM
"...if you have nothing to hide it will go much smoother to give consent."

As I said before, the reason why they are talking to you in the first place is they suspect you committed a crime. Therefore, if the police are asking to search your vehicle then most likely they are trying to build probable cause which will lead to an arrest.

The police will not come out and say things like "You are our suspect in a crime." They will not tell you directly their intentions or what evidence they already have or how they came to stop your vehicle. Therefore, you have to be on the defense whenever you have an encounter with the police. When I mean "defense", I do not mean to be impolite or stand-offish. You can protect your rights while being calm and polite. The police are not going to come after you with the Taser if you stand there calmly stating "I do not want my vehicle searched" or "I do not want to answer questions." The judge will not hold it against you if you decided not to allow a search or answer questions at the scene. It is understood these are your rights and there is no punishment for asserting them.

As for whats in your car, who knows whats in your car. There have been cases in the past of drug and gun runners placing contraband into a person's vehicle. The person then drives from Point A to Point B where the smugglers retrieve the contraband. Your teenagers or whoever used your vehicle last may have left behind some contraband like marijuana under the seat or an open container of beer in the back. You might have wondered into hostile firearms territory like NJ or NY where every other thing you do is a felony and whatever they find in your vehicle will be a reason to place you under arrest.

Actually, I just read about this most recent case.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/01/03/marine-faces-fifteen-years-behind-bars-for-unknowingly-violating-gun-law/

Another firearms owner who had a CCW in another state is caught behind enemy lines in the city of NY. Of course, these matters should be common knowledge nowadays, but if you have lived in Indiana all your life and have not experienced going behind enemy lines then you might not know better. I don't blame anyone for not knowing the many confusing and vague firearms laws which seem to change every 100 miles you drive.

I think I should have added another point to the original post:

If you have to ask someone about checking your firearm, see signs to the effect of "No firearms allowed" or going through a security checkpoint and you are carrying a firearm, rest assured you are already violating the law.

BlueTrain
February 9, 2012, 10:13 AM
Could someone please make a post here about "A firearm owner's guide to obeying the law." It will not only simplify things a great deal, it will amaze everyone.

CaptainObvious
February 9, 2012, 12:54 PM
"Could someone please make a post here about "A firearm owner's guide to obeying the law."

It would be great to one day be able to write a thread detailing exactly how you can obey the law. However, as it is, there are so many confusing vague firearms laws on the books and then it gets even more complex when we cross political boundaries. What is a felony in one state is not a crime at all in a neighboring state. Some states have these laws about taking firearms into a school zone and there are firearms owners who accidentally wonder into these zones with their CCW. etc...

There have been a few documented cases where firearms owners have been arrested even though they carefully researched the law and took great pains to follow it. Brian Aitken had called the NJ State Police and the Department of Homeland Security to get specific advice and guidance on the laws. It seemed clear that he had absolutely no intent on violating the law. Despite his research, he still found himself in a jail cell wondering how he got there.

The reason why I authored this thread was to create discussion on the issue and make folks think. We have to make sure we know our rights in these matters. I sure do not want to see another Brian Aitken or Harold Fish incident and I think those situations could have been avoided if those individuals had handled things differently.

zincwarrior
February 9, 2012, 01:59 PM
Quote:
His job is not to help you.
I guess keeping the peace and enforcing the law is not designed to help you. How is that murderers, robbers, and rapists end up in a jail cell? I can tell you first hand that the fairy godmother doesn't put them there. Trained men and women do. They do it by seeking the truth in the encounters they engage in. In order to get the truth, they rely on the statements of citizens so that those statements can be compared to the available evidence. There is a reason that we get to walk around in relative peace, in most places in this nation. It is not because of the good will of all mankind. I agree that you should think about your circumstances and be careful about what you say to police because not all police officers have the best of intentions. Weigh your options and use your rights based on your culpability and conscience. However, there is nothing wrong with looking the man in the eye and telling him the absolute truth, particularly when you have done nothing unreasonable by anyone's interpretation. The police are not the enemy as many lawyers would have you believe.


I didn’t say they were the enemy. The job of police is to protect society. If, in the instance of this thread, you are under suspicion of a crime, then the police are most definitely not there to help you. You are under suspicion like “murderers, robbers, and rapists” just noted. I wouldn’t expect, and indeed trust, that the police will treat you like a suspect. After all, they may be right. :rolleyes:

I don’t know what the rest of that was.

btmj
February 9, 2012, 04:35 PM
MTT TL - you never answered a very good question from bds32 ...

Yes, I would be interested to know about completely innocent persons who spoke to a police officer and went to prison soley for the reason that they spoke the absolute truth, without regard to any other circumstance in the case such as the actual facts of the investigation (including misidentifications, lying witnesses, corrupt police officers and prosecutors, faulty evidence, etc.) I can be persuaded.

I would also be interested in this. You claim to have many examples, only limited by bandwidth. How about giving us just the 5 best ones...

FTG-05
February 9, 2012, 04:39 PM
[quote]Thats terrible legal advice.

What to do when you get pulled over FLEX YOUR RIGHTS

Police have no right to search locked compartments with out a warrant, unless you give them permission.

You can give up your constitutional rights and submit to an illegal search if you want to, but I never will. ]/quote]

I totally agree. I can't believe some of the incredibly naive "advise" being given in this thread. "If you consent it will go easier". Incredibly naive. Incredibly stupid.

Conn. Trooper
February 9, 2012, 04:45 PM
I have never willy nilly asked someone to search their car just as a general rule. If I have probable cause, I search. If I don't, away they go. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.

If you defend yourself I would give the police the facts of what happened, you don't have to incriminate yourself, but you can say " He attacked me, I defended myself." He had a weapon, etc. That gives responding officers things to look for, like witnesses, weapons, video surveillance, etc., that backs your side of the story. Rocks and bottles are in every 7-11 parking lot in the world, if someone tried to hit you with one, say so. Otherwise, it could vanish while waiting for your attorney.

Believe it or not, cops want to get the story straight and sorted out, and grab the right bad guy. Help them if the bad guy is the other guy.

btmj
February 9, 2012, 04:45 PM
I want to re-iterate what OldMarksman said

That's good advice--unless you intend to claim self defense.
A successful defense of self defense will require evidence, and that evidence may disappear at the scene never to be found again unless the officer is aware of it. Remaining silent can greatly increase that possibility. Pointing out witnesses and evidence before they disappear can mitigate that risk.


I would love to know how often a self defense claim that is made immediately to the poice is successful, compared to a self defense claim that is made after the fact... after being arrested and speaking with a lawyer.

DasGuy tried to make this point... but the proponents of the "remain silent" approach ignored him...

Skans
February 9, 2012, 05:22 PM
I have never willy nilly asked someone to search their car just as a general rule. If I have probable cause, I search. If I don't, away they go.

I was personally the subject of a "willy nilly" search, so I know that they do happen. My situation was this: I was traveling between Orlando FL and Gainesville FL at night with my girlfriend. No drugs, no drinking or anything like that. A state trooper stopped me for going 61 in a 55 (yes, back when it was 55mph). I was made to sit in the officer's car for about 45 minutes while they called out the unit with the drug dogs to sniff around my car, search my car. FWIW, I had short hair, was nicely dressed, and the car I was driving was an Mercury sedan. Obviously they found nothing - there was nothing to find.

So, bad stops and bad searches do happen. In cases of truly bad stops and searches (like mine) they don't find anything and they know nobody will ever pursue them on it.

MTT TL
February 9, 2012, 06:09 PM
Quote:
Yes, I would be interested to know about completely innocent persons who spoke to a police officer and went to prison soley for the reason that they spoke the absolute truth, without regard to any other circumstance in the case such as the actual facts of the investigation (including misidentifications, lying witnesses, corrupt police officers and prosecutors, faulty evidence, etc.) I can be persuaded.

I would also be interested in this. You claim to have many examples, only limited by bandwidth. How about giving us just the 5 best ones...

Bro, I got a day job and can't answer internet posts all day.

The question is total BS though. The poster is eliminating upfront most of the causes for wrongful conviction and prosecution. This is a false argument. Those are exactly the reasons (mis-identification, lying witnesses, corrupt police officers and prosecutors, faulty evidence, etc.) why you need to be careful and not say much of anything or consent to be violated. You put those outliers into play and you telling your truthful story will get you locked up. Happens every single day. There are lots of other ways it can happen as well (but he did put "etc" on there I guess in hopes of eliminating every single cause of wrongful prosecution :rolleyes: ).


Believe it or not, cops want to get the story straight and sorted out, and grab the right bad guy.

Most often, but not always. I don't carry for the 99.9% of the people who don't wish me harm. I carry for the .1% who would be just as happy to see me dead in a ditch somewhere.

moxie
February 9, 2012, 10:41 PM
Well, Q.E.D. Or not.

Jeff22
February 12, 2012, 04:12 AM
Cops can ask for your consent to search your vehicle or your premises.

I've been a cop for almost 31 years. My best advice would be to politely decline such a request.

I'm not comfortable with the whole consent search thing, and I never have been, when it is used as a tool on a fishing expedition, which is what happens sometimes.

I think members of the public feel harassed by such police activity. I know I would feel that way.

I suspect there are HUGE differences operationally from department to department and in how the law is enforced in different regions of the country.

I suppose it all depends on the crime rate and the working environment of the locality where you are policing, but (speaking as an LEO) I am not comfortable with an overly aggressive style of policing UNLESS circumstances dictate that kind of response.

wayneinFL
February 12, 2012, 11:50 AM
Simple questions, simple answers:

- Do you know why I pulled you over?

Answer: "No."

Reasoning: Because you do not, as you are not a mind reader. Even if you were going 110 mph he might have pulled you over for a tail light. Tell him you were going 110 and he will write you a ticket.

- Where are you going today?

Answer: Could be a lot of places. Be consistent however with a single answer 1-3 word answer. He may ask you again or make reference to it later.


There isn't an answer that could do anything to help you, and even short, consistent answers can hurt you. Do you have any weapons? Yes. (and you hand him the carry permit.) Where are you going? Home. Where did you come from? Post office.

You took said 4 words about a 5 minute trip, and confessed to a felony.

I take a more direct approach to fishing expeditions. I look him in the eye, laugh, and say something like, "I'm 40 years old. You think I don't know better than to answer questions like that?" So far the fishing expedition has stopped there. Never had any kind of reaction from the officer.

MTT TL
February 12, 2012, 12:07 PM
I suppose it all depends on the crime rate and the working environment of the locality where you are policing, but (speaking as an LEO) I am not comfortable with an overly aggressive style of policing UNLESS circumstances dictate that kind of response.

There are circumstances that do rate it. However in most of those circumstances the driver is pretty much going to jail already.

Funny. On Friday I saw a vehicle search on the side of the interstate. I saw the police pull them over on the way to the store. On the way home there were three police cars with a K-9 unit going through their stuff.

The interstate here is a well used drug corridor. The cops know what to look for.

gvw3
February 12, 2012, 05:59 PM
My dad always told me to just keep your mouth shut. Give them your name and drivers lic. I don't know why as my dad never had any issues with the police that I know in his life.

About 40 years ago I was pulled over and arrested for armed robbery. When they drove me to the location of the robbery the witnesses told the police I looked nothing like the person that had just robbed them. I was never 40 miles from this location.

To this day I believe I could have been railroaded into this crime and went to prison for some thing I never did.

Just keep you mouth shut!

Mannlicher
February 12, 2012, 07:17 PM
I can't tell if the Captain Obvious is a cop or not, but every thing he has posted on within his short time here is cop related.
Interesting body of posts, in such a short time.

CaptainObvious
February 12, 2012, 07:58 PM
The problem is knowledge. A lot of folks are buying firearms nowadays and not taking the time to learn the law. The other problem is there is no uniform law which encompasses the entire country especially in the Northeast where you could drive through 5 different states with different sets of laws in a 300 mile span.

There is no police officer who takes pride in arresting a responsible firearms owner who is violating the law just because they stepped over a political boundary. However, an officer has little discretion when it comes to a violation of these laws. Its not the same as a person who does 5 mph over the limit. You can't just let someone go with a warning if they are violating a law which relates to firearms. The solution is knowledge and learning the law. However, there are a few people out there who will still get into trouble even though they learned the law and thought they were following it. So I wrote this thread for you guys who find yourselves in some trouble and have no idea how you got there.

Officers take pride in arresting guys who cause the community trouble and thats how it should be, however, it doesnt always work out that way. Sometimes there are responsible firearms owners who have no intention of committing any crime who do violate the law and an officer has no choice but to do their job in that situation. Just be safe, be knowledgable, know your rights and think about these things beforehand. If leaving your firearms at home is not an option, then take a moment to learn the law and your rights in these matters.

MTT TL
February 12, 2012, 08:14 PM
There is no police officer who takes pride in arresting a responsible firearms owner who is violating the law just because they stepped over a political boundary.

I am betting serious money that you do not know a single DC cop. They downright revel in it. I hear NYPD are the same way but am unsure.

Skans
February 13, 2012, 08:51 AM
So, you're saying that if you are pulled over for "swerving", possible DUI and you haven't been drinking at all or taking any drugs, you should still refuse to answer questions, take a field sobriety test or a brethalizer?

With that advice, I'd automatically lose my driver's license, possibly my concealed carry permit (or ability to renew) and guaranty to make some lawyer $5-20,000 richer.

Also, being investigated for possible DUI is very different than being investigated for shooting in self-defense, unlawful possession of a firearm, trespass with firearms, etc.

What if I'm out hunting and accidentally wonder onto someone's land where, in some places, its posted "No Trespassing, Hunting, Fishing, etc."? Police officer gets called out and finds that I'm trespassing with firearms. Should I remain silent? Ehhh, I don't think I'm going to remain silent and demand to talk to my attorney. I think I'm going to put my gun down gently, do what the officer says, be as cooperative as possible, try to explain my mistake and try to explain that I didn't intend to do any harm. I may get arrested anyway, but with my approach, I have a better chance of dismissal or leniency if/when I get before a judge.

This "one size fits all" approach is a bad approach in my opinion. People always need to use their own judgment, depending on the circumstances and many other factors as to which approach you should take with the police.

matthew261
February 13, 2012, 09:08 AM
Very reasonable advice, thanks!

CaptainObvious
February 13, 2012, 11:19 AM
Skans stated:
So, you're saying that if you are pulled over for "swerving", possible DUI and you haven't been drinking at all or taking any drugs, you should still refuse to answer questions, take a field sobriety test or a brethalizer?

There are some things an officer will ask you to do which are optional and there are some things an officer will ask you to do which are mandatory, however, they are not going to let you know which are optional or mandatory unless they have to. Its up to you to research and know the law. You can say no to an officer in regards to some things and nothing will happen, however, in regards to other things you might just get arrested. Its not the officer's job to tell you what is right, wrong, mandatory or optional. They wont be giving you any hint hints or wink winks. You have to know the law which goes back to my original post.

In reference to your question, in some states you can refuse to take the field sobriety tests and refuse to answer questions about drinking. In the states that I know of the only mandatory test is the big breathalyzer machine at the station. If an officer in my state asks you to blow into a portable breathalyzer or to take field sobriety tests then you can say no. If you say no, they will probably yell at you, threaten you with jail and jump up and down which is perfectly ok for them to do. They develop probable cause through those tests. When they have probable cause, then they arrest you which leads up to the big machine which you have to take. If they do not have probable cause then they can't arrest you, but if they do arrest you then your attorney has a defense. Not many people ever refuse the tests so it rarely comes up. Of course, in different states there are different laws about field sobriety tests and I only have knowledge of certain areas. Your state might be different.

Your statements are an example of someone not knowing the law. If you take the time to research these things and think ahead of time then you can be well prepared. Of course, the best way to not get into trouble is avoidance. You wont be getting stopped for a DUI/DWI if you do not drink and drive. You will not be getting arrested in NYC if you leave your firearms at home. Just take some time to research the issues and learn how not to get yourself into trouble.

Skans
February 13, 2012, 01:48 PM
You wont be getting stopped for a DUI/DWI if you do not drink and drive.

People get pulled over for erratic driving. No one ever gets pulled over for DUI/DWI. If I happen to swerve, get pulled over, know that I haven't had a drink or taken any drugs, why would I not answer a few questions or even offer to take a brethalizer?

People get stopped for all sorts of reasons. I got stopped doing 61 in a 55 zone. The officer used drug dogs to search my car. Now, I could have objected to this - what do you think would have happened to me if I protested and objected? I consented because I have never taken drugs and I hadn't been drinking. It cost me 45 minutes of my life sitting in the back of a patrol car.

Was this a bad stop? Probably. Was it a bad search without any probable cause? Absolutely. Did I spend the night in jail? No. Did I have to pay an attorney? No. Did I have to make bail? No. Did I have to appear before a judge for arraignment? No. Why? Because I was 100% sure the officers would find nothing.

chadio
February 13, 2012, 02:04 PM
Good lord now my off duty friends are looking for candy dishes. Is it really that scary to folks to deal with police?

I live in Spokane. Do a google search of Spokane police reform. You are more than welcome to decide if it is justified or not.

Hypothetical questions:

1) if police shoot first and ask questions later, would that qualify as being scary?

2) if a pedestrian in a crosswalk or a bicycle rider is hit by a patrol car while the LEO is being distracted by his laptop (are we familiar with the term "distracted driving"?) would that qualify as being scary?

brickeyee
February 13, 2012, 02:39 PM
There is no police officer who takes pride in arresting a responsible firearms owner who is violating the law just because they stepped over a political boundary.

The port Authority of NY and NJ comes to mind.

They have arrested folks who tried to check guns in at the airport after missing connecting flights (and thus being forced to spend the night).

They retrieved their luggage that contained the handgun, and tried to then check it in the next day when leaving.

Regretfully FOPA does not address this type of thing, so they technically violated the local anti-gun laws.

To jail, peasant.

MTT TL
February 13, 2012, 07:56 PM
In reference to your question.....
Your statements are an example of someone not knowing the law.

Exactly.

I am not saying don't cooperate with the police. What I am saying is that you need to be real careful about what you say and do, if you do.

CaptainObvious
February 13, 2012, 09:40 PM
The port Authority of NY and NJ comes to mind.

Its very easy to blame the police because they are the most visible figures. There are other figures involved in these matters such as the Prosecutor, the judge, politicians, etc. The reason why you do not vent on those guys is because you dont see them driving around from day to day. So its easy to want to blame these arrests on the police. However, as I said, the only discretion an officer has nowadays is in ways of traffic enforcement. They can still excuse someone for doing 5 over the limit, but they cannot excuse violations of laws which involve such things as firearms, drugs, violence, theft, etc.

Believe me, an officer doesnt want to place certain people under arrest. The officer may even disagree with the law and how its written, however, the officer has to do their job as they are sworn officials. They took an oath and are keeping with it. If they violate that oath then they will get seriously reprimanded if not outright fired.

So if you disagree with these laws then you should vent on the politicians and let them know how you feel. Venting on the police will not help matters. Like I said before, you should not expose yourself to these things in the first place. Every firearms owner should know by now the approved method of transportation of your firearms is Amtrak. Amtrak isnt going to suddenly divert into NJ or NY. The firearms owner should also know that NJ and NY are unfriendly firearms states and should be considered enemy territory or dark country. I think they should let people know when they buy firearms or get a CCW which states are hostile and which are friendly...

wayneinFL
February 14, 2012, 01:33 AM
People get stopped for all sorts of reasons. I got stopped doing 61 in a 55 zone. The officer used drug dogs to search my car. Now, I could have objected to this - what do you think would have happened to me if I protested and objected? I consented because I have never taken drugs and I hadn't been drinking. It cost me 45 minutes of my life sitting in the back of a patrol car.

Did you buy the car new? Suppose the previous owner left a joint under the seat? Or suppose a friend dropped something illegal in there. Suppose you had a firearm in your car legally and there's some confusion over it. (Recently happened to a member of a local forum who was charged with illegal concealed carry for a pocketknife and a firearm that was securely encased per FL law.)

What if you had objected? One of two things- they would have let you go. And you could have challenged the search in court. Or they would have searched anyway, based on probable cause or exigent circumstances. And you would have been able to challenge that in court if you had not consented.

IMO, there's never a good reason to consent to a search. You don't have anything to gain by it.

Skans
February 14, 2012, 09:11 AM
I bought the car from my dad - he bought it new (Dad doesn't drink or do drugs). No guns in the car. I had no reason whatsoever not to permit the search - other than it was a clear violation of my rights. None of my friends were into drugs either - hard to believe, but true.

IMO, there's never a good reason to consent to a search. You don't have anything to gain by it.

I was only 20 when this happened. I absolutely would not consent to the search today, simply on principle. But, lets analyze what you've said. If I didn't consent to the search, the police may or may not have let me go on my way - you acknowledge that there was a chance I could have been detained. That detention is loss of freedom. As it was, i was permitted to leave after about 45 minutes. No legal fees, no detention, no sitting in a jail waiting for the cops to get a warrant to search my vehicle - none of that. Is the State going to pay my legal costs or compensate me for my loss of freedom? No. So, even though I wouldn't consent to a search today, I did gain something by agreeing to allow my vehicle to be searched.

I'm not suggesting that others make the same decision an ignorant 20 year old guy did. But, I am pointing out that blanket statements like "there's nothing to gain" and "don't talk to the police without having legal counsel present" are not always right. There are exceptions. People need to be informed, think, and make good calculated decisions. Guidelines are good, but no set of rigid rules replaces a well informed, capable brain.

CaptainObvious
February 14, 2012, 10:11 AM
Dad doesn't drink or do drugs

Well, the fact is you don't know who in your community might be drinking, doing drugs or something a bit illegal even your Dad. If you go out on a drive along with your friendly neighborhood officer, you would be surprised by what you see. That guy next door who seems friendly and goes to work in a nice shirt and tie might be smoking pot. That nice elderly woman you see at the grocery store might be an alcoholic.

Despite what you see on COPS and other such television shows, thats not what officers do from day to day. The main call for service is domestic violence. The other main calls are traffic accidents and then there are the concerned citizens who find a family member less then sober not sure what is going on so they called 911 just in case. All these calls are usually to homes you would never imagine.

If you let others use your car, then there is some value in having it completely detailed once a year with regular cleanouts. No matter what you may think, there is a chance that someone in your family or within your friendship circle is doing something less then legal. Lets say they drop just a little marijuana somewhere between the seats and the dog picks up on it...

Skans
February 14, 2012, 11:18 AM
Lots of speculation on what could have happened, but the fact is that the dogs picked up on nothing because there was nothing. I left 45 minutes later. Do you think these highway patrol officers were just going to let me go if I had refused and protested their search? These officers were way out of line in what they did. I got stopped and ticketed for doing 61 in a 55 on a major highway - I was made to sit in the back of a patrol car while they searched my vehicle with the dogs. Do you really think if I refused to cooperate that they would have just said "ok, you can go"? Get real! The best way out of this, knowing that they had nothing on me was to let them do their thing.

I could have and should have filed formal complaints against the officers. Given the same circumstances today, I'd probably refuse to let them search and I would make a formal complaint. You can second guess what I did when I was 20 - but, the bottom line was it was 45 minutes out of my life and $0.

Mike1234
February 14, 2012, 12:32 PM
People get stopped for all sorts of reasons. I got stopped doing 61 in a 55 zone. The officer used drug dogs to search my car. Now, I could have objected to this - what do you think would have happened to me if I protested and objected? I consented because I have never taken drugs and I hadn't been drinking. It cost me 45 minutes of my life sitting in the back of a patrol car.

Did you buy the car new? Suppose the previous owner left a joint under the seat? Or suppose a friend dropped something illegal in there.<snip>

I bought an old used Toyota Celica that was forfeited for unpaid house rent. It was full of trash and junk. While cleaning it I found a plastic bag with about an ounce of funny-smelling white powder. There's no telling what a drug dog might have found in that car even after I cleaned it.

Would I consent to a search? Sure... after they get a warrant. I wouldn't be rude about it... just wouldn't let them violate my rights.

OuTcAsT
February 14, 2012, 01:44 PM
Would I consent to a search? Sure... after they get a warrant. I wouldn't be rude about it... just wouldn't let them violate my rights.


Exactly ! You have nothing to lose, and, possibly everything to gain by simply exercising your rights. It is as simple as that.

the officer has to do their job as they are sworn officials. They took an oath and are keeping with it. If they violate that oath then they will get seriously reprimanded if not outright fired.

While that officer may get in a heap of trouble for not obeying his orders they routinely suffer little, if any consequences for violating civil rights. Unfortunate.

brickeyee
February 14, 2012, 02:37 PM
Officers will most certainly get fired if they tell a lie.


Only if they are under oath.
Multiple courts have ruled that the police do not have to tell the truth when questioning someone, and are free to even mislead them.


Its very easy to blame the police because they are the most visible figures.

They are the first government agents on the scene, and the first to throw judgment and discretion out the window.

It starts with them, and continues down hill from there.
Occasionally a prosecutor decides they have more important things to do, or does not want to prompt a legal fight that could have wider impact.
NYC can continue to enforce its laws free from challenger if they make sure to not allow anyone to gain standing.

wayneinFL
February 14, 2012, 06:24 PM
If I didn't consent to the search, the police may or may not have let me go on my way - you acknowledge that there was a chance I could have been detained.

You WERE detained. You were locked in the back of a patrol car for 45 minutes. If that isn't detained, I don't know what is. If you said "no", they might have let you go. Or they might have gotten a warrant. Either way, they didn't have cause to arrest you. Probably didn't have PC for a warrant, either. I still don't see what you gained here.

My 7 year old might take off running with scissors. When I tell him it's dangerous, he'll tell me he didn't get hurt. That doesn't mean it's a smart thing to do, so I'm still going to tell kids not to run with scissors.

OuTcAsT
February 14, 2012, 08:43 PM
Do you really think if I refused to cooperate that they would have just said "ok, you can go"?

If they had to ask to search, they did not have RAS. I have refused search on 2 occasions and, after some attempts to "scare" me, I was allowed to leave both times. Have instructed my teens in this practice, each has exercised their right to refuse a search during a traffic stop, both were allowed to leave. While YMMV, it has worked for me.

12GaugeShuggoth
February 14, 2012, 09:37 PM
2) if a pedestrian in a crosswalk or a bicycle rider is hit by a patrol car while the LEO is being distracted by his laptop (are we familiar with the term "distracted driving"?) would that qualify as being scary?

I found that point quite interesting personally, as I was almost smacked by police cruisers on 3 different occasions while on my motorcycle. One time I was waiting on a traffic light, another I was stopped at a stop sign, and the third I was moving at about 65 mph down the highway. After the third one I started riding with a helmet mounted camera for documentation, but then realized I could somehow be arrested for having footage of LEO's even if they were doing something irresponsible and dangerous. Never made any sense to me.

Upon realizing that LEO's were the biggest danger I encountered while riding, I decided to sell the bike and remain cage-bound......err, sorry, car-bound. At least if one of them hits me now I have a pretty good chance of surviving it. None of the cruisers had sirens or lights going, they were just being driven by morons. I never had encounters that close with any other vehicles while riding. :confused:

Jeff22
February 15, 2012, 10:33 PM
Is taking a video of the police against the law?

Depends on your state statutes. Where I live and work it's perfectly legal as long as they stay out of your way while you're doing your job.

In my state it's also legal to tape a cop's conversation. Only one party has to consent for it to be legal, and thusly they can tape you legally.

But state laws on this issue vary significantly across the country.

ScottRiqui
February 15, 2012, 10:46 PM
In my state it's also legal to tape a cop's conversation. Only one party has to consent for it to be legal, and thusly they can tape you legally.

That's one of the arguments the police have used against videotaping. The claim was that if the bystander was recording audio as well as video in a "two-party consent" state, then they're guilty of violating wiretapping laws. I don't know if the issue has been settled definitively in the courts. IANAL, but I would think that the fact that the recording is taking place in public would render two-party consent unnecessary.

OuTcAsT
February 16, 2012, 07:17 AM
I don't know if the issue has been settled definitively in the courts.

It has been addressed by the courts, there is an ongoing thread in L&CR.

droptrd
February 16, 2012, 11:17 AM
Wow....

Cops ARE NOT on your side. This doent mean they are out to screw you over though. They have an Us Vs Them mentality. This does exist. My experiance as the only non-LEO male in 4 generations of my family tells me this. My family will admit the same thing. If anyone denies this they are a liar or ignorant. I mean this with all respect.

Just remember when dealing with LEOs, they have more rights than you do so...

The vast majority of LEOs are good honest people. My advice would be to treat them as such. Dont go around thinking every Cop is going to screw you over every chance they get. Just cover your own ass. It is not the LEOs duty to protect your rights as a citizen. Thats what attorneys are for.

Remember you have the right to remain silient.

Kudos to the OP. Great thread.

MTT TL
February 16, 2012, 02:03 PM
If only we could end the thread on that note.

CaptainObvious
February 16, 2012, 02:10 PM
Cops ARE NOT on your side.

Allow me to remark about this statement. Law Enforcement/Public Safety is on the people's side. When an officer arrests or detains an individual, they are not taking anyone's side. They are simply investigating an incident which may be a potential crime, gathering evidence and detaining/arresting the people who might be involved. The police department is not a decision making body and they do not take sides. All they do is collect information, evidence and, if need be, collect people. If you see or hear an officer coming to a conclusion about any type of suspected activity then they are out of line. It is not their job to come to an ultimate decision.

The person who is not on your side and you must truly beware of is the Prosecutor. This is why you are entitled to a lawyer and that is because a specialized person is needed to deal with that individual. Thus, at no point should you ever handle these situations alone. You should employ the services of an attorney from the start and refrain from making statements. The moment the police show up and start asking questions is the moment you should either be calling your attorney or asking for one. Your defense starts the moment the police show up. Do not ever think or believe you will be able to handle this on your own. You will need specialized help, even if you are an attorney yourself, to negotiate and deal with the Prosecutor...the guy who is not at all on your side.

The person or persons who may or may not be on your side is the judge or jury. In a courtroom, you never know how they might decide or what they think. They are the X factor or the unknown factor.

So the police are on your side, but understand their duty is to investigate these incidents and bring it to the Prosecutor. Whatever you say or do...whatever you provide...will be handed over to the Prosecutor so that is why these situations have to be handled carefully and professionally with the help of an attorney or at least the public defender. They should be the only ones making statements on your behalf.

As I said earlier, the best method to avoid these situations is not to expose yourself. For example, you wouldnt be getting arrested in NYC if you had simply researched the law and left the firearms at home. Just ask yourself every step of the way if your conduct or activity might be exposing yourself to police scrutiny.

Frank Ettin
February 16, 2012, 02:43 PM
Starting to get circular -- time to quit.