The majority of people waive their rights entirely during a police encounter, don’t be one of them.
10 Rules for Dealing with Police
1. Remain calm and compliant. Do not talk back, and speak in an even tone.
2. You have the right to remain silent. During police encounters the best thing to do is stfu.
3. You have the right to refuse searches. The officer is not obligated to reveal you have the right to refuse a search. Repeat after me, “Officer, I do not consent to searches.” Do not consent to searches of your personal items, car or home.
4. Don’t get tricked into waiving your rights. Officers are allowed to lie to you and threaten you. Do not allow threats or promises to dupe you into waiving your rights.
5. Determine if you’re free to go. Calmly say, “Officer, am I being detained or am I free to go?” This establishes the encounter as an involuntary one. If the officer does not answer, you are free to go. If he says you cannot go calmly repeat, “Officer, am I being detained or am I free to go?” If the officer begins an interrogation say, “I am going to remain silent. I would like to speak to an attorney.”
6. Don’t be a criminal, around criminals, or exposed to criminal activity in public.
7. Don’t run. Running equals probable cause.
8. Never touch a cop.
9. Exercise focused awareness, be a good witness. Record the event visually and audibly as much as possible. After the encounter write down details such as start and end time of event, officer statements, officer names, badge numbers, area of event (street names, neighborhood), and environmental conditions. Identify any possible witnesses. This information is valuable for reporting possible officer misconduct. You can also record the police but that’s a bit trickier.
10. Do not allow law enforcement into your home without a signed search warrant from a judge. Repeat after me, “I will not let you in without a warrant.”
If Subject to a Traffic Stop
1. Pull over calmly and use turn signal to indicate lane change. Pull over as far right as possible so the officer does not need to worry about being hit by an oncoming vehicle.
2. Once over, roll down the car window all the way, and turn off engine. Turn on interior lights and place your hands on the steering wheel. Keep your hands on the steering wheel and avoid any furtive movement. This will usually assuage any apprehensions the officer may have in approaching your vehicle.
3. When the officer comes to your window, do not speak first. Many people mistakingly say the wrong thing and exasperate the situation. Remain calm and non-defensive. The officer may ask you, “Do you know why I stopped you?” You answer, “No.” The officer may then ask “Do you know how fast you were going?” Answer calmly, “Yes I do officer.” If the officer informs you of speeding or other violations the best policy is stfu, otherwise answer indefinitely such as “I see.”
4. If pulled over by an unmarked car or you have any doubts the person is not law enforcement, you are entitled to politely ask to see their photo identification and badge. If you still have doubts you can request that the officer call a supervisor to the scene or that you be allowed to follow the officer back to a police station.
Avoid Giving Law Enforcement a Reason to Search
Do not give an officer any excuse to search your car or be suspicious. Don’t be a criminal (e.g.driving drunk or high), around criminals, or exposed to criminal activity while driving. If you are a criminal, practice good OPSEC, and do not have illegal objects in your car in plain sight. This includes open beer or wine, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, drug paraphernalia, and weapons.
Silence is not admission of guilt and cannot be used against you in a court of law.