Readers of The Daily Caller already know that American law enforcement officers occasionally perpetrate shocking, brutal abuses on wholly undeserving citizens (RELATED: TheDC’s Dirty Dozen: 12 SHOCKING police abuse stories of 2013)
Of course, most encounters with the police do not escalate into this or this or this. But the truth is, even regular, non-abusive encounters with police can end badly for an average person… if that person doesn’t know his rights.
Police officers are allowed to lie, trick and intimidate in order to find a pretext for writing tickets, performing searches and making arrests. But a citizen who is well-informed of his constitutional rights has a much better chance of getting through the ordeal unscathed.
This infographic — courtesy of Online Paralegal Programs — contains sage advice for how to handle the police.
The most important thing? Never, under any circumstances, for any reason whatsoever, answer a question that a police officer asks you. The reasons for this are best explained in a lecture given by Regent University law professor James Duane. According to Duane, answering questions can never help you. Even if you are innocent, your statements can lead to false self-incrimination; anything you might say that would actually help your side can simply be discarded by the authorities.
Online Paralegal Programs recommends that you respectfully decline to answer questions, even if the encounter is nothing more than a routine traffic stop. Stress that you politely decline to answer questions or permit searches, and ask frequently whether you are free to go.
Questions such as, “Have you had anything to drink?” or “Do you know how fast you were going?” are trick questions. Do not answer them.
It is also recommended that you begin recording a police encounter as soon as it begin. If the police attempt to confiscate your camera, do not stop them. At no point should you actively resist a police order. Simply make a record of the officer’s behavior by writing it down as soon as you can.
For more helpful information, check out the infographic: