01-12-2009, 10:47 AM
Hard Core 4+
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Larimer County
Originally Posted by Hulk
Yes, and I certainly wasn't advocating anything other than a respectful attitude. My point was that a LEO with a chip on his shoulder might be less inclined to threaten people in a group rather than a lone individual in a campsite.
You need to be respectful and courteous, but also don't forget you have rights. Be forceful, honest and don't get bullied. There are plenty of police and LEO who are on power trips and will try to bend the rules to their advantage.
Remember some points when interfacing with police.
- Never, ever, ever be confrontational. Be polite; remember 'Yes sir', 'No sir', 'Thank you sir' in even tempered voice.
- You NEVER have to submit to a search of your vehicle or property without a warrant. But if they see something in plain view or you say something, then that can give them probable cause. Keep your personal junk stowed and out of view and just answer their questions briefly. Don't ramble, tell them the story or try to explain. Answer only specific, pointed questions. You must tell them your name, address and your birth date. You have to give them registration, permits (like BLM or USFS) or legal documents as such to show your right to be where you are. Nothing else needs to be offered or asked. As of today you still don't have to prove your innocence and citizenship. They don't have the right to make you prove anything for them.
- You can NEVER be detained without a reason (however probable cause is a very vague exception) and during a civil or ordinance violation (such as traffic violations, loud music, open containers in camp, whatever) they have no probable cause to search you or your vehicle unless you give them one. For example, if you are sitting in camp in Utah and there is a law against out-of-state beer, they can only write you a citation and that's it. The act of violating an ordinance does not give the cop any additional inherent right to search you or your truck without a warrant and probable cause.
- In that vein, ask directly if you are charged with a crime or being arrested, if not then ask to end the exchange (ask to be allowed to leave or be left alone). Ask "Am I free to go?" The response is yes or no. Unless it's no with a specific reason, then you may legally go. But even if that's the case, don't leave if doing so would provoke or escalate the encounter. Always be polite.
- You never have to answer anything without a lawyer if you don't want. Anything you say after being advised of your rights is open for use against you, so don't say anything beyond yes, no, thank you.
- NEVER physically resist detention or search. Rather say in no uncertain terms that you do NOT submit to this wrongful arrest, detention, search, particularly without an attorney. Presenting a threatening situation, verbally abusing, presenting a physical safety problem, etc. to a LEO is the fast lane to conflict.
- If the cop will not remain within his legal bounds, ask for his sergeant, supervisor, etc. to be called in. You always have the right to ask for that, although doing so will raise the encounter tension. But asserting your right could be the difference between being unlawfully hauled into the precinct or charged with some stupid petty crime. Never let them push you into something to make it easier or quicker. That's exactly why they push the limit, so they can skate on a technicality rather than going through the pains to get a warrant. If you say OK to a search, then they don't need a warrant. That Federali in Moab probably assumed that being in the middle of nowhere would prevent that, but even he has a supervisor. If that means getting him or her out of bed and driving 100 miles at 2AM or getting a warrant from a judge 40 miles away in town, you still have the right to ask for it.
The 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments are not field negotiable. Exercise them.
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"To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering." -- Friedrich Nietzsche