You Have the Right to Stay Out of Jail

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Knowing Your Rights

Amendment IV – The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Whether you are a US citizen or not

3 Levels of police/citizen encounters

Consensual – casual conversation
○ Evidence level required – Zero
○ Freedom to leave – yes
○ ID required – no
○ Legal search – plain sight or consensual
○ Example: Officer knocks on door to ask if you saw anything

Investigative Detention- Temporary detainment for further info.
○ Evidence level required – Reasonable Articulable Suspicion
■ Visible paraphernalia (Ziplocks, rolling papers, pipes)
■ Tools for B&E (Crowbar, slim jim, weapons)
■ Profiling (Paper tag, DARE/Police decals, College attire, Gangster attire)
○ Freedom to leave – no (approx. 15-20 minute max)
○ ID required – not in 26 states (exception: you’re a driver)

Legal search: frisk, plain sight, or consensual
○ Example: Officer sees you wearing a ski mask at night.
● Arrest – Taken into police custody
○ Evidence level required – Probable Cause or warrant
○ Freedom to leave – no
○ ID required – yes
○ Legal search: frisk, plain sight, consensual, or warrant
○ Example: Officer catches you breaking and entering

Best Practices to Exercising Your Rights Safely
○ Always be polite, respectful, and keep hands visible
■ Reduce Exposure to Suspicion
● Crack door/window unless ordered to open fully
○ Clarify it’s an order, a request is not an order.
● Keep questionable items out of plain sight:
○ prescription bottles / medicine
○ hookahs
○ rolling papers
○ measuring scale
○ firearms/weapons
■ Ask to leave often
● Omitting to ask = voluntarily staying
■ Ask for cause
● Officers must articulate observed suspicions
■ If requested to do anything, clarify you will if it’s “an order”
■ Record or immediately write down your encounter
● **disclaimer: Audio and video recording laws differ state by state
■ Report any violations of your rights

NEVER:
■ Lie or give false documents
■ Answer questions
■ Give permission to a search without fully reading a warrant
■ Argue, resist, run, or obstruct– even if your rights are being violated

○ Filming your encounter with police:
■ You may video and audio record police performing official duties in public.

Officer may NOT:
○ Confiscate, demand to view, or delete without a warrant.

Individual may NOT:
■ Interfere with the officers’ duty [ex. “stand back!” do so]
■ Physically resist– if officer reaches for your device, do not resist, just report it.

Tricky Police: Police may legally lie, bluff, and intimidate you.
○ Most avoidable arrests occur from trickery and intimidation:
■ admission of guilt
■ consenting to a search.
○ Refusing a search or to answer incriminating questions are not:v
■ admissions of guilt
■ reasons to detain you
○ Miranda Rights are read only in “police custody”
■ visual: handcuffs
○ Common Police tricks:
■ Phrasing:
● “Have you had anything to drink tonight?”
○ Best response: “Respectfully officer, I don’t have to answer that.”
● “Not answering is suspicious, why are you resisting?”
○ Best Answer: “I’m not resisting, respectfully, I don’t have to answer anything.”
● “If you have nothing to hide, you don’t mind if I look around.”
○ Best response: “I’m sorry Officer, but I don’t consent to searches.”
● “If you refuse a search, I’ll have to call a K-9 unit.”
○ Best response: “Officer, are you detaining me, or am I free to go?”

Breath Tests to Determine BAC
○ Do you HAVE to take it? No, you have the right to refuse.
■ Be warned, refusal is an automatic, irreversible suspension of license (in every state)
○ Blood tests are more accurate, and require a warrant
○ Breathalyzers are tuned to the “avg” person
■ False positive factors:
● Smaller people
● Small lung capacity
● Diabetes
● Acid Reflux (GERD)
● Low-Carb Diet
● Inhalers
● Fumes (ex. paint, Ethanol gas)
● Roadblocks
○ DUI – Legality: protection from “imminent public danger”
■ Same rules as any other traffic stop

Border Patrol
■ Legal search – Agents may legally search anything without warrant
○ Drugs (It’s a Trap!)
■ The Supreme Court ruled random checkpoints for finding drugs are unconstitutional.
● “We cannot sanction stops justified only by the generalized and ever-present possibility that interrogation and inspection may reveal that any given motorist has committed some crime.”
● “Drug Checkpoint in 1 Mile” [sign] is a police trap, do NOT exit.
○ (visual of the sign near an exit cops/dogs are at exit, not 1 mile down)
○ Pull people over for:
■ Illegal U-Turns
■ Littering
■ Suspiciously exiting

YOU HAVE RIGHTS, Know them.

thumb

http://www.roadblock.org/faq
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Indianapolis_v._Edmond
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:States_with_Stop_and_Identify_Laws.png
http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-rights/miranda-warnings-and-police-questioning.html
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/4/jury-nullification-signs-in-dc-spark-free-speech-d

Note: Laws vary by region, please do your research and know what the rights are in your area.

44 Responses to You Have the Right to Stay Out of Jail

  1. William Edwards

    I have learned that you ask if you are under arrest if you dont get an anser keep asking until you get one. When officier tells you that you are not ask to leave

  2. As a criminal defense attorney in Minnesota, this is a really fun and interesting chart. It’s great to get people thinking about their rights and helping them understand what rights they have. That being said, each State is different (i.e. DUI roadblocks are unconstitutional under the Minnesota Constitution), and the laws are constantly changing (i.e. When the State can get a blood draw without a warrant).

    These are some great basic starting blocks, but please reach out to an attorney in your state to find out any changes, or additional protections under your State Constitution. (Many fellow criminal defense attorneys are happy to discuss your rights, it’s why we do what we do)

  3. Tony Jackson

    I have something to say and I need some answers if you or anyone that is reading this statement can help I would be grateful and not forgetful. Ok here goes…I was arrested (not actually) I was told “Mr. Jackson we have a warrant for your arrest”. My response was ‘for what!?’ and of course their response was (as if surprised) “you don’t know?” I told them no, I just got home! what’s going on???? they said “you really don’t know?” again I told them “I just got home what happened?” they said well we’ll talk about it when we get to the station. At this point you can tell that I am very confused as well as concerned or afraid. I was handcuffed placed in the police cruiser and taken to jail booked and placed into a holding cell. (Now mind you I am trying to figure out what is going on; a lot of thoughts are going on in my head trying to get a grip on what just took place asking myself am I dreaming could this be a joke and at the same time I feel extremely anxious. So, finally the detective came and took me out of the holding cell to talk with me and again I am completely confused, and get this she (the detective) reads me my “Miranda” rights after I was booked in. I didn’t catch on until years later after reading up on some of the laws case logs of what should be done the first time the initial statement “I or we have a warrant for your arrest” before being handcuffed and taken off to jail. My 5th Amendment Miranda Rights were violated. Can anyone tell me what should be done, the first thing I should do in tackling this illegal action against me?

  4. Sad thing is that we are required by law to tell the truth. Police officers are not required to tell the truth and use lies to get you to admit things, yet when they appear in our public schools they like to leave the impression to our children that they do tell the truth and the children can be depended on them for help. I think it is important to teach our children to keep their mouths shut and remember that the police are not their friends because they have the legal right to lie to you. Do your friends lie to you? I think not…….

  5. The chart states that in some areas you are required to produce ID. I believe that chart is out of date and those laws were voided by a Supreme Court ruling back in the 1970’s or 1980’s. There was even a docudrama/showpeice on it on one of the news magazine shows (dateline/60 minutes etc) . An Ivy League educated black male was used as bait by dressing down and walking through rich neighborhoods. There’d be calls to police or just patrolling squads that would stop him and demand ID. Naturally he wouldn’t carry any. This was done in many areas of the country. He nearly always was arrested(it was secretly filmed). The case worked their way through the system and were ruled unconstitutional.

    • If you were driving, for example, you are required to show ID. There are many situations where officers can require you to show identification: age restricted places, purchases, and activities, hunting, fishing, conducting business or any transaction with the government, when you are on probation or parole, when there is reasonable suspicion to temporarily detain you for the purposes of investigating whether a crime is occurring, and when you are being placed under arrest with probable cause, just to name a few common ones. Most of the time, the best advice is to be forthcoming and truthful about who you are, and for any questions that go beyond your own identity simply answer: “I want a lawyer before any further questions.”

  6. Had my licence suspended cause I didn’t pay couple tickets in a state I don’t live in, even though I hadn’t had a ticket in my state in 15 years. Since I go to Costa Rica ever year, and already had a D/L there, I flew down and renewed it last year since I have residency there. Screw this police state. Go to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama and see the freedom we had in this country up to the early 70’s.

  7. I got a question I’m in california and I got pulled over for looking at my phone and the officer gave me a ticket but I didn’t read it before signing it I guess I was nervous or something but the officer said him self that to tell the judge that I was just checking my phone and that my ticket might give me a point. But when I drove off and I start reading my ticket it said I was driving unsafe speed so what can I do with that? Or what should I do? And thanks in advance

  8. “…refusal is an automatic, irreversible suspension of driver’s license.” A breathalyzer test is a form of search and is thus prohibited without a warrant. The Fourth Amendment embodies unalienable rights that cannot be taken, given or diminished in any way.

    • Tom – The issue is that, by accepting the state-issued driver’s license, you accepted the conditions it is issued under. By statute, one of those conditions is that you have implicitly consented to alcohol testing under specific conditions when using your license to operate a motor vehicle on public roads. Which is why the “implied consent” laws state that withdrawal of that consent voids the license – you have unilaterally rupudiated the agreement that you have consented to BAC checks when arrested for DUI or DWI, so the state withdraws the license. It is no different than individuals or companies that accept certain licenses or contracts to do particular business (gun makers and dealers, alcohol makers, restaurants, contractors doing government work, etc.) waive some of their 4th Amendment rights and have agreed to specific warrantless searches that would otherwise require a warrant. Note that in implied consent/BAC situations, withdrawing your consent is generally (I’m not going to pretend I know all laws in all states and territories by heart :-) ) NOT a crime – and they will need a warrant to test you without consent… But the state can and will withdraw THEIR side of an agreement you have already rejected.

    • Unfortunately however, driving is a privilege. And in most municipalities, when a person test for their license, the sign documentation stating the they waive the right to refuse a breathalyzer.

  9. If the officer asks you to get out of your car and walk back to his vehicle to complete “paper work”, do you have to get out of your vehicle? This happened in New Mexico after being stopped going 5 mi over the posted speed limit of 30 mph, just a few 100 ft from where the speed limit changed to 55 mph. We were followed several miles before being stopped. We were pulled over on a very busy highway. The officer even approached the vehicle on the passenger side. Why would he ask a senior driver to walk back to his car on a busy highway?

  10. It’s all about one thing…..control. They – the police, the government, just want to control you. They don’t care about the constitution, your rights, or anything else.

    Control and generate money for the local, county, and State. Why do you think they ignore speeders and pull over some schmo in the car poo,l lane who’s only got one person in the car? Their generating income. Much more than a speeder, a cell phone user or texter.

    ‘Protect and Serve’ my ass.

  11. Clayton Evans

    We allready lost the Constitution,Federal judges are untouchable,they can lie,they can discriminate, and do whatever they have the whim for,if you are not well connected or rich you have a snowballs chance in hell when it comes to legal matters!

  12. Actually the supreme court recently held that not answering CAN be held against you. Your best bet is to ASSERT your fifth amendment rights right from the start, then you silence can’t be used against you.

    Also a federal judge recently ruled on a 100 mile buffer zone around the entire US border. it a totally constitution free zone according to this wacko judge in NY.

    My view on this is COOL! All US laws are based on the Constitution. Since the Constitution is not in effect where I live, Laws are not in effect where I live. Also the Constitution authorizes the federal government, so federal agents have no constitutional authority where I live.

    • Re the 100-mile zone — interesting idea! I drive a truck cross-country, and am frequently in the deep Southwest, where there are several Border Patrol check points, within 100 miles of Mexico. I’ll have to remember this!!

    • Which side of the border is this “buffer zone” on? Do you have a link with more info?

  13. Konrad Von Hochstaden

    This is not completely accurate. No state requires you to SHOW ID (e.g. a driver’s license) during detainment, but many require you to identify yourself. Often this is simply giving your name, date of birth, and home address verbally.

    Of course, if you are driving, you can be asked for your driver’s license. Although used to identify you, the “reason” is to to determine if you are licensed to drive.

    Also, in reference to recording: if referring to wiretap laws, these laws do not apply to a stop in public where there is no expectation of privacy, especially if you make it obvious you are recording. If recording secretly, just don’t say anything about it. I would say it is much better having it than not regardless of the law.

    • I can’t categorically confirm your statement but in Florida the obligation to produce identification is going to be pretty limited, as in the example you provided about operating a motor vehicle. Now there might be a further exception under the “loitering” statute as well, but that is pretty narrow and limited as well. In terms of providing your name however I think you do have such an obligation when questioned by a sworn law enforcement officer.

      I express no view on the recording of conversations without consent.

  14. Cobb County Georgia State Court: No right to subpoena to obtain evidence, No right to trial by jury, No right to discover or depose a person who is material and relevant, No right to a continuance to gather evidence, Trial is in less time that prosecutor is required to respond – so prosecutor does not respond, illegal search without a warrant of a house is acceptable, simple recital of probable cause without any probable cause is acceptable with state court.
    Legitimacy is not part of their process, oh, and file an appeal, that requires a much higher political intervention – mostly that does not happen!

  15. Great information thank you-remember the police/policy man is not a peace officer, they are there to enforce the statutes/laws of the corporate state that hired them, only the sheriff is a peace officer because the sheriff is voted in by the people and the sheriff takes his oath to uphold the constitution in the republic, so in my experience when I was pulled over I found out that you are actually teaching them or re-educating them about the real su juris law. Interesting! I am studying law

  16. Michael McCormick

    I gather firewood at a local lake. I did quite a bit of research on the legality of it. I could find nothing in any local, state or federal law making it legal or illegal. The closest thing I could equate it to is illegally mining of a natural resource. Long story short the first time I was stopped they told me the wood had no value therefore I was let go. The next day another cop stopped me and told me they were allowed to decide on what could and could not be done at the lake. I then pointed out that he was not part of the legislator but rather a part of the enforcement. He told me he just talked his supervisor and confirmed what he told me earlier. I responded respectfully that I really did not care what his supervisor told him, because it was not illegal. He got on the computer and searched for quite a while but could find no supporting documentation to back up his claims.
    Question. Was this the right or wrong approach on my part ?

  17. Thanks for posting this it has help me a lot just one question , I work for a big company in logistic . What are my right then since I’m on the clock ?

  18. This does not apply to black men, or puerto rican men or mexican men. This is what the law is “on paper.” The reality of the situation is very different. There is a reason the jails are filled with blacks and browns for non-violent drug crimes. And its not because of a pervasive ignorance of the law. White drug usage it essentially legal in America. Why? Racism and systematic injustice in the criminal justice system. From cops, prosecutors and judges. Cops are allowed to cherry pick who they will arrest and to ignore the civil liberties of blacks and browns. Prosecutors and judges then ignore the injustice done and in fact add to the problem by giving longer sentences to blacks and browns. This article is bs for blacks and browns. When we face cops, keep your mouth shut, hands where they can be seen, do not give any information other that your name, address and id. And do not attempt to resist and illegal search. Use common sense and survival skills.

    • La-Roy ,
      I’m a hawnk . Please get this race garbage settled with facts . We are all in a damned mess here and the bastards that have engineered it have also made you a parrot . If we don’t stick together man , this same rant your able to print now will get you a gulag trip the same as I would for upholding the Constitution
      We all need to be different but together in an idea . I support to the death and have dodged bullets to prove it so you can say what you want . But use your mind , not what the arrogant controllers have done for you ?
      They are laughing all of the way to the bank and your house and want us all in their pocket . Don’t help them do it .

    • La Roi, you have some reason to point, but overall, is crap. Sure, more black/brown arrested for crack …. but more white are busted/in jail for meth…. it’s the problems within communities that drive arrests.

    • Sadly, you are correct. It is called “DWIB” (driving with black and/or brown). Just so you know that I am not in this group, I am a senior white woman. I am horrified to read accounts of brutality, bullying, etc. by our law enforcement agencies. Still, it never hurts to know the information no matter what color your skin.

    • La Roy, You’re right about the prisons being full of blacks and browns because they naturally gravitate towards illegal drug use and sales. Violent crime is part of their heritage. Every single black person knows several of their family and friends that are in jail or have been in jail usually because the white man set them up or white laws discriminate against them.
      Steph, Im sure you are horrified by the brutality the police need to use on this violent species. I am more concerned about the police using excessive force on anyone that offers no resistance other than their constitutional rights to defend themselves against a cop who thinks they can do whatever they want with no consequences. Once that problem is solved then we can start looking into DWBOB! Im really sick of hearing that. Worry about yourself first. I’m not going to put someones elses problem before mine. Only an idiot will do that.

  19. “You may legally video and audio record a police officer performing official duties while in public”

    Unless you are in a fascist blue state such as Maryland, or (until last year) Massachusetts, or possibly others.

    Example: http://reason.com/blog/2013/07/05/maryland-college-football-player-charged

  20. Under RoadBlocks you forget to list “Motorcycle Only Saftey Stop” as they have occured in both the states of Georgia and New York.

  21. Thank you for posting this…regretfully, the vast majority of the people are not informed of their rights when it comes to police stopping them for anything..It is also advisable to make no sudden or persistant hand gestures, talk loudly,or aggressively, or be alot taller than the cop…they get intimidated easily. I have the utmost respect for law,and order, but zero for cops who bully,abuse,lie,sneak,cheat and brutalize! They destroy the public’s trust of the police that MUST remain in place.

  22. Excellent info. I wish more residents of Ontarian knew about it.

    http://www.racisminopp.org

  23. Is it ok to give to the Officer a copy of the IV Ammendment with a verbal statement: “Officer, I am complying with your orders pursuant to my rights protected by the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

    • No. Do not give anything, whatsoever to the cop.
      At any rate, most cops are looking to arrest such people that know their Constitutional Rights.

      They’ve been trained to use, any little excuse to do this.

      Don’t volunteer anything paper or verbal, the cop didn;t ask for.

      You’re not dealing with a friend, here.

      At any rate, your fingerprints can be taken from the paper.
      You’re working against yourself.

      And I think, countrywide, cops have been given a mandate to provoke in any way possible, ALL WAYS possible, PROTESTS, AND RIOTS.

      These provocations, include:

      – “alleged” wrong entry in private homes
      ( I think it’s deliberate)
      -“alleged” mistakes in entry and arrests.
      ( I think this is really deliberate)

      – tasering individuals, causing deaths
      – shooting and killing individuals
      – shooting and killing of family pets

  24. Jean-Luc Picard

    In theory you are getting close to the truth. In practice, when the police lie, falsify police reports, plant evidence, etc., you are defenseless, even if you have video footage as they will destroy it as well and lie about it. Please, do you honestly think we have any rights in this country? We have corrupt cops, corrupt DAs, and corrupt judges. Even the Supreme Kangaroo Court of the land will not uphold the Constitution(Gitmo, Patriot Act, NDAA, FISA, etc). Add to that a complicit and bogus media who will discredit you in the court of public opinion long before your trial, and you can plainly see that this is NOT a free country and we are not under a rule of law of decent men. The best advice is to avoid the legal system at all costs, never dial 911, or better still would be to leave the country.

  25. Do you have a good resource within Colorado regarding laws and rights during traffic stops? thank you.

  26. In MS, there are “insurance checkpoints,” in which they simply ask to see a license and insurance. Are these legal, or can I refuse?

    • My opinion, and that’s ALL it is, as I don’t know MS laws well, is that they’re fishing. They’re hoping to find someone without insurance to cite them.

      My opinion, just that, would be to ask “am I being cited or arrested?” If the answer is “no”, then say “respectfully, you have no right to see them, unless you can articulate probable cause or produce a warrant”, then ask to leave.

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