If our parents were raised during the free love heydays dazes of the 60s and 70s, and they occasionally enjoyed the hit on a peaceful joint. Then hopefully, they instilled deep within your DNA a healthy distrust of many of today’s authority figures. That’s why whenever you see the flashing red, white, and blue lights in the rearview mirror of your car, you feel that on easy queasiness in the pit of your stomach, as though you’ve done something wrong – perhaps it was just that bong hit of LSD starting to kick in. Either way the ACLU has prepared a handy little tip card on how to interact with the police, rather than going all grand theft auto on them.
These are your rights
– Remember the golden rule – “silence is golden” so say nothing without your attorney present.
– Should you be unfortunate enough to be pulled over by the police, you have the absolute right to refuse the consent of a search of both you, and your car – minus a search warrant.
– Always remember, If the police have not placed your arrests, you have the right to ask if you are free to go. Provided the police are incapable of offering a legitimate excuse for detaining you, you maintain the right to turn around and leave. Bearing in mind that cops are people, and some people are dicks, it’s always a good idea not to be rude during your attempt to extricate yourself from the sticky situations.
– Regardless of the reason if you are being arrested you have the right to an attorney – ask for one once you’ve been notified that you are under arrest.
– Despite a murky, or nonexistent immigration or citizen status, everyone detained by police on US soil have certain constitutional rights. Exercise them.
Cops are scary, we all know that – but when being “stopped” keep calm.
Police can smell fear, and hear it in your voice. Remain tranquil, though don’t appear stoned. Don’t protest, resist or in anyway put your hand on the policeman, regardless of your innocence or their intention of violating your civil rights. Keep your hands out of your pockets where law enforcement can easily observe them at all times, they tend to get a little jumpy – remember those tasers hurt.
So the next time you’re loading up your van and planning a road trip with a couple of your buddies, either down the coast, or up to the local mountains. Remember to be well-versed in your rights, and how to properly exercise them.
Should you feel as though your rights have been violated, discreetly write down the facts as you remember them. Including the officers badge number, their names and patrol car identifiers – which agency the cops were from, and any other pertinent details. Once safely home, be sure to file a written complaint with the internal affairs division or civil complaint board that oversees the officers agency.
One of the greatest thing about our Constitution: its rights apply to everybody. America is sort of like an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of rights, where what you see, is what you get. No matter how distasteful it may appear to some, it’s protection for all. Sure, some convicted felons, enemy combatants and even the non-famous get to enjoy the protection meant to shield the innocent and volatile – but hey, that’s America.