Do You Know Your Rights When Approached by the Police?

The Libertarian Republic

Don’t talk to cops!

But if you do, this is what you say…

It seems like every day we see a new video emerge where a citizen almost immediately surrenders their 4th or 5th amendment rights. Free people need to know their rights in order to be able to flex their rights. If you regularly engage in criminal activity (Like most Americans do every day. Ever drive over the speed limit?) then you need to know what to say in order to protect yourself from the government. Here are a few quick pointers that should help you along the way.

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1. “How can I help you officer?”

This is the first thing you should say if you are ever encountered by a law enforcement professional. Be polite if you are approached. They may accuse you of a crime, or ask “Do you know what I stopped you for?” Don’t admit guilt. Don’t say anything that will incriminate you. Keep your mouth shut.

2. “Am I being detained? Or am I free to go?”

This is key. If you are not under arrest, an officer has no right to hold you for any reason. If you are being detained then you are under arrest. If you are under arrest then you have the right to remain silent and I suggest you use it. Anything you say can and probably will be used against you in a court of law. When an officer says “If you talk to me, it will make things easier” they are saying it will be easier for them. Not you. Their job is to arrest you, not make your life easier. Meeting their quota helps them, but makes your life more difficult. Never, ever talk to an officer without a lawyer present. If you can’t afford a lawyer, the state is required to provide one to you. It’s better to get your own though because someone you are paying directly will obviously do a better job.

3. “I don’t consent to any searches sir/ma’am.”

This is very important if you are having a house party or if you have contraband in a vehicle. Even if the police go ahead and perform the search, your refusal to consent to the search could lead to the charges being thrown out. Also, by simply exercising your rights the officer may be deterred from performing the search. It’s also good to remember that a police officer may threaten you with a K9 unit to perform the search. Don’t be afraid of that. The Supreme Court has recently found that a dog pointing is no longer grounds for probable cause unless a warrant has already been issued. If an officer demands to search your vehicle, simply say you do not consent to a search. If they want to go get a warrant, let them do it. More likely than not they will let you go.

4. Always record the police’s actions in any encounter you have with them.

This isn’t a statement, but it’s an important rule of thumb to remember when dealing with the police in any situation that you encounter. As Fox News Sr. Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano has said, “The camera is the new gun. There’s nothing the government dislikes more than the light of day.” Police may not like being recorded, but you have a right to record what the government does in public and especially on your own private property. Filming the police may make them angry, but if you are not belligerent and politely inform them that every action they take is being recorded, their behavior might change for the better. But if it doesn’t change for the better, you will have a record of it.

5. Shut up.

I don’t know how much I need to stress this.  I have seen many good friends get jail time or heavy fines because they couldn’t keep their mouth shut and I have gotten out of numerous incidents with police simply by refusing to answer any questions. The 5th amendment of the constitution gives us the right not to self incriminate. You don’t have to talk to anyone, anytime about anything, ever. You have the right to remain silent. If you ask an officer, “Am I being detained? Or am I free to go?” and they say you are being detained, keep your mouth shut. There’s nothing you can do to get out of being arrested and even though you might be afraid, you’ll be even more afraid when you’re sitting in a courtroom listening to your words being read back to you before you are sentenced for a crime that you might have avoided. Again, I repeat: Keep your mouth shut.

And that’s it. I’ll try to keep updating you often with useful information to help educate yourselves about your constitutional rights. And although our rights don’t originate from the constitution, these are the rules we are living by in America today. It’s best we learn the rules of the game, so we can avoid any unnecessary losses.

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