March 07, 2005


1. You have no right to demand to see the radar calibration at a traffic stop (at least in Virginia) so don't tick off the officer by asking for it.

2. The side of the road is not the place to discuss your concept of your rights with a cop. Traffic stops and domestic calls are the places most likely for officers to be killed or wounded in the line of duty so the officer is likely to be spun up. That is why they wear body armor. Do not give him any reason to question his personal safety. If you have concerns about how a police officer conducts himself, there is a time and a place to take it up with his superiors. In my experience, most police departments are very conscientious about how their officers conduct themselves.

3. Be polite. If you mouth off at a police officer and it is a jailable offense, it is worth 30 days in the crossbar hotel, at least in Virginia.

4. If you want to invoke your right to remain silent, be polite about it. See rule #3. The officer will not take it personally.

5. The police, particularly undercover, are under no obligation to tell the truth. For reasons which escape me, it is a bit of Internet gospel that a narcotics officer has to 'fess up if questioned by a dealer --e.g., "'Yo dude, are you Five-O?". If he says "no" before you sell him that kilo of crack, you are screwed. The Supreme Court has actually written on this one--lying, bluffing, etc. are perfectly permissible. The only execption is when the police are testifying in court.

6. Prostitution stings are not confined to the good-looking super-model police officers. The less than cute crowd gets equal billing and equal results. BTW, stings are not entrapment. Another BTW: these operations are almost always recorded by hidden cameras. A sting in Roanoke about ten years ago ended with the officer and the john in the hotel room. The cop goes into the bathroom which was the signal for the "takedown team" to do its thing. This took about a minute during which the john drops his pants and starts masturbating, presumably to"get in the mood" before the takdown team comes through the door. He entered a "not guilty" plea in general district court, the idiot. The prosecutor shoved a tape into a monitor and pushed "play". When she was finished, the courtroom was a quiet as a cemetary and the john changed his plea as did every other "sting" defendant in the courtroom.

7. If you are sitting in a police car, assume you are being recorded. Those dash-mounted cameras are there for a reason. They come with microphones. They are usually on. You would be amazed at the info the police have gotten by leaving a defendant or two unattended in the back of a police car.

8. The police may question your minor child without you being present. There is no "parent-child" privilege.

9. Your lawyer did not make the facts and is not a magician.

Posted by LMC at March 7, 2005 09:10 PM

Important safety tips.

I would add, for those of you who carry weapons (legally), it is important to know whether your state requires disclosure of this fact to the police officer:

a) immediately as the first words out of your mouth,
b) if asked by the officer, or
c) not at all.

It is generally best, if you are carrying, not to get "all up in his face" about how you were going 55 and his radar must be wrong. Because if you are asked to get out of the car and are searched and you have not disclosed the fact you are carrying, well then you have no one to blame when you are lying face down on the pavement being cuffed. Just sayin'.

Smile. Accept the ticket. Don't try the "twenty dollar handshake to make it all go away." In the privacy and comfort of your home, politely request a court date if you feel the ticket was not in order. In Massachusetts, you have, in my anecdotal experience, a better than 50-50 chance of walking away because of police officer scheduling conflicts and/or lame excuses in front of a sympathetic judge. Why risk that by being a jerk?

Posted by: The Colossus at March 7, 2005 10:22 PM

Good point, particularly since number of states have relaxed the requirements for concealed carry so there are more people out there carrying "heat". (I don't have a permit and transport my Baretta in a locked case in the trunk when going to and from the range.)

Posted by: LMC at March 8, 2005 12:37 PM

So, is this incidental information, or was some "personal research" involved?

Re: #8 - You'd better have a d@#^ed good reason to do so, if it's my child. I never left them alone with doctors, and I wouldn't leave them alone with a cop. Push it and you can find a lawyer to stand in for me.

Posted by: tee bee at March 8, 2005 04:08 PM

Personal experience with multiple tickets in every state in this great Union has revealed to me much on this subject. Most importantly, in Montana, out-of-state drivers are required to pay the ticket right then and there when the cop gives it to you or you are required to spend the night and show up for court the next day to challenge it. This from the state that calls itself "Big Sky Country" and used to not have a speed limit. But, the real wisdom I gained was when the police officer doesn't have $25 change for a $100, he does NOT appreciate it when you say "I guess you're not a metermaid. At least they have change." Yup. That one cost me.

Posted by: Wittysexkitten at March 8, 2005 05:26 PM

tee bee: your child can (politely) decline to provide any information to a police officer beyond his name and can tell the officer that he won't talk until a parent arrives. There is nothing that prevents the police from talking to your child. If your kid chooses to answer, then what comes out of his mouth is fair game. The police are paid to investigate and solve crimes and interviewing people who might know something is how they do it.

Posted by: LMC at March 8, 2005 07:09 PM

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Posted by: victoria silvstedt at July 18, 2005 09:17 PM
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