Category Archives: police

10 Rules for Dealing with Police

Most people are unprepared to handle police encounters. Few people understand their constitutional protections. As a result, when stopped by police, many people unknowingly waive many of their rights.  A group called Flex Your Rights has put together informational videos and they have made the videos available on Youtube.  The video and the information echos and reinforces many of the articles I have authored on this blog about invoking your rights and not making statements to police.

The 10 Rules for Dealing With Police

1.  Always be calm and cool.

2.  You always have the right to remain silent.

3.  You have the right to refuse searches.  “I don’t consent to searches.”

4.  Don’t get tricked.  Police may legally lie to you.

5.  Determine if you are free to go. “Are you detaining me or am I free to go?”

6.  Don’t expose yourself!

7.  Don’t run from police.

8.  Never touch a police officer.

9.  Report Police Misconduct. Be a good witness.

10.  You do not have to let them in your home.  “I can’t let you in without a warrant.”

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Some Common Reasons That Police Stop Vehicles To Catch Drivers Driving Under the Influence

1.  Weaving:  In Kentucky, many DUI traffic stops are made on the basis of an alleged violation of driving on the left side of the roadway, crossing the center line, or “weaving”.  There is no specific mention of “weaving” in the Kentucky statutes.   However, the standard is pretty low for an officer to be able to show you were “weaving”.  Either you had to be in violation of some traffic law (there are several statutes that address driving on the left side of the road) or that the officer was “reasonable” in his suspicion of the motorist’s conduct and that a crime was about to be committed.

2.  Seat Belt Laws:  The Kentucky seat belt law states, in part: “A person shall not operate a motor vehicle manufactured after 1981 on the public roadways of this state unless the driver and all passengers are wearing a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt..”.  There are more specific requirements for children but for the purposes of this article, the statute is clear and gives officers good reason to investigate you for DUI.   There are very few defenses to the seat belt stop.  If the officer can see that you are not wearing it, its going to be a valid stop.

3.  License Plates:  Police officers may check for suspended vehicle registrations.  There is no right to privacy .  Officers do not need a reason to run a license plate number.

4.  License Plate illumination:  A police officer may stop a vehicle for failure to illuminate your license plate.  It is always a good idea to inspect your vehicle for working lights before hitting the town.

5. Speeding:  Speeding or any traffic violation is reason enough for a police officer to stop your vehicle with the underlying purpose to investigate a DUI or to try to catch other criminal activity.  Don’t speed.

6. Traffic Signal Violation:  Use your signal always.

7.  Sleeping in Vehicle:  An officer will approach a vehicle that he or she believes there is someone sleeping in that vehicle.  You can still be arrested for DUI if you were sleeping in your vehicle, it is especially important to not make statements to the police because the burden is on the officer to prove you were in control of the vehicle. The officer will ask you how you got there, have you been drinking, where you have been; all with the intention of getting enough information to show that you had been driving the vehicle.

Always, error on the side of caution and call a cab if you are drinking.   If a police officer wants to stop you, they can probably find a reason to stop you.  While a good attorney can help find defenses to each of the above stops, the headache, embarrassment and financial pain of dealing with DUI is avoidable.  Be smart.

~ Northern Kentucky Attorney Ken Turner defends citizens arrested for DUI and other traffic related violations.  Call (859)432-3733 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Never Make Statements To The Police

Police are trained to gather information that can be used to charge you with crimes.  Crimes that you may not even know that you committed or even crimes that you did not commit.  When you have an encounter with a police officer, you should respectfully decline to make a statement or answer questions outside of the basic inquiries of revealing your correct name and address.  Most police interrogations do not involve a poorly lit room and cigarettes.  Most police interrogations begin as basic, seemingly friendly conversations.  Thirty percent of the people exonerated through DNA evidence, were convicted because they falsely confessed to a crime they did not commit.

Make no statement to the police under any circumstances. It cannot help you. You cannot talk your way out of getting arrested. Statements made to the police will be used against you but they cannot be used to help you. Exculpatory statements (statements that tend to prove that you are innocent) made by you are hearsay and cannot be used in court to prove your innocence. Remember, statements CAN and WILL be used against you!

Even if you did not commit a crime and even if you are being truthful, one mistake in your story, getting one fact wrong, can be used to prove that your entire story was a lie.  You cannot possibly remember everything.  Exercise your hard fought for right to not incriminate yourself, as guaranteed by the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Many people believe that they are always entitled to have their rights read to them.  This is simply not true.  A police officer is only required to read you your rights before questioning you, after you have already been taken into custody.  If you are unsure of a situation, ask the police officer if you are free to go.  If you are not free to go, you are in custody.  However, any statement you make, either while in custody or if you are free to go, will be used against you.

Be calm during traffic stops.

Once you realize you are being told to pull over, pull over safely and as soon as you can. Keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times and do not make any sudden movements. Remember, any questions from the officer other than your name and address are investigatory. Invoke your right to remain silent.  Let the officer know that you need to reach into the glove box or for your wallet before you reach. Do not be a jerk, be polite and remain respectful. Do not get out of your vehicle unless the officer requests that you get out of your vehicle.

Invoke your rights.

If a police officer is asking you any questions other than your name and address, it is safest to respectfully decline to answer the questions until you can speak to an attorney. Politely respond to the officer, “I am going to remain silent. I do not wish to make any statement. I want to see an attorney.” The officer may keep asking you questions and ignore your requests to remain silent. However, do not give in. Remain respectful and invoke your rights each time you are questioned.

Be respectful.

Even if the officer is being disrespectful to you, always remain respectful to the officer. The officer could be taunting you into doing something unlawful or saying something that may incriminate you. Do not run from the police. Do not threaten the officer.  There is credibility in remaining calm and respectful.

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