LAWFUL POLICE STOPS
If a police officer DOES happen to establish Reasonable Suspicion to pull you over, then the first thing to know when you are stopped or detained by the police, whether in your car or on foot, is that it is technically what’s called a Temporary Arrest or Seizure. Police stops can be very dangerous, to both the officer and the citizen alike, however, because the police officer is voluntarily putting his or her life in repeated danger, the Supreme Court has ruled and given police officers something called “Unquestioned Command“ at a police stop to further guarantee their safety, in many cases, even over YOUR 4th Amendment Rights.
This means a police officer has great leeway in telling you what and what NOT to do at a police stop when assessing whether you have committed an infraction or a crime. So contrary to what you may have seen on TV or in the movies the police officer does have the authority to tell the driver AND passenger to get out of the car.
Pennsylvania vs Mimms 434 US 106 (1977)
Maryland vs Wilson 519 US 408 (1997)
If they do or don’t tell you to get out of the car it’s completely under what’s called police discretion, which is a fancy way of saying if the officer feels like it or not. And because of this very reason, whenever you ARE confronted by a Police Officer for a possible infraction or crime, it is EXTREMELY important that with CONFIDENCE you show the police officer that you KNOW YOUR RIGHTS by following these long established principles of law to best ensure a safe outcome and that your Rights are NOT violated, or so that you may get restitution if your Rights are Infringed upon.
The three main Rights you want to focus on at a police stop are Amendments 4, 5 and 6 of the Constitution.
The 4th Amendment guarantees your Right against unreasonable searches and seizures without your consent.
The 5th Amendment guarantees your Right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.
The 6th Amendment guarantees your Right to an attorney or council.
With these basic Rights in mind we’re going to go over a few common scenarios that happen at Traffic and Terry Stops, and the things you can do to secure your rights as well as get you home safely….
POLICE STOP SCENARIO Q&A
1. What is a Terry stop?
A Terry Stop… is the doctrine created by the 1968 Supreme Court case of Terry vs Ohio, which allows a police officer to detain a person if the officer has a “reasonable articulable suspicion” that the person being detained has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime.
2. What is Reasonable Articulable Suspicion (RAS)?
“Reasonable Articulable Suspicion“ is the conclusion drawn from the actions taken by an individual, combined with the surrounding facts and circumstances, that leads a police officer to believe that the suspicious individual has committed, is committing, or is about to commit A crime.
3. What is Probable Cause?
“Probable Cause” is The doctrine taken from the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that allows a police officer to search, seize and/or arrest a person upon the belief that they have committed a crime.
4. What are your three most important rights at a police stop?
Your three most important rights at a police stop are the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments to the US Constitution.
5. What should you never drive or leave the house without?
You should never drive or leave the house without a dashboard camera for the car and/or a body camera.
6. What are the police allowed to do under reasonable suspicion?
Under reasonable articulable suspicion, the police are allowed to institute a small investigation to determine whether a crime has been, is being or is about to be committed.
7. When a police officer stops you and ask for your ID, what should your response be?
When a police officer ask you for your ID, your response should be… Do you have Reasonable Suspicion that I have, or am about to commit a crime?
8. At a lawful Terry Stop, do I have to give the police officer my ID or just my name and address?
At a Lawful Terry Stop, you are ONLY obligated to give the police your name and address. In some instances you may have to give your ID/drivers license if state law requires it. Hiibel vs Nevada
Other than giving your name or identification you DO NOT have to assist the officers in their investigation.
9. When is a police officer allowed to pat you down for weapons?
At a Lawful Terry Stop.. The police are allowed to frisk or pat down the suspected person for weapons ONLY if they believe that individual to have a weapon in a specific place on their body, and the officer is able articulate a belief that the suspected person is a danger to the officer and public with that weapon.
10. When can a police officer lawfully go in your pockets?
A police officer is allowed to go in your pockets only AFTER they have probable cause to arrest you for a crime.
11. Is a response to a police call enough reasonable suspicion for a police officer to ask for your ID?
When the police get A 911 call, whether it be for an emergency or A check up, they are by law required to investigate The call. Upon arrival to the scene they are still required to establish reasonable articulable suspicion of a suspected CRIME before you are required to give your identification.
Suspicion alone is NOT a crime!
12. Does any violation or infraction of the law, no matter how small, give a police officer reasonable suspicion to stop me?
YES! Any and every violation or in fraction of the law no matter how small gives a police officer enough reasonable suspicion to lawfully detain you.
13. If I have not broken a law, do I have to comply with ANY police orders or request?
If you have not broken the law you do NOT have to comply with any of the officers request or demands! However be smart about your situation and ALWAYS ALWAYS make sure you’re recording!!!
14. Can a police officer legally lie?
Yes the police can and most often do legally lie!!
15. Can a police officer arrest me for using profanity?
A police officer can only arrest you for using profanity if you use it to incite violence or to threaten the officer directly… otherwise profanity has been ruled 1st amendment speech by the Supreme Court.
16. What is a stop and identify state?
A Stop and identify state is any state that has passed a law that requires any individual suspected of a crime to produce identification when they are detained, and offers a criminal penalty when that request is denied.
17. Other than your name and address what questions do you have to answer from the police officer at a Terry Stop?
Other than your name and address or ID/drivers license when the state requires, you are not lawfully obligated to give the police anything else. As stated, you are not required to aid the police officers in their investigation. If the officer proceeds to ask you questions beyond your identification, simply and politely state… “ Officer I don’t answer questions!!!”
18. At a lawful police stop, Am I required to comply with a police officers orders as long as they don’t violate my constitutional rights?
At a lawful police stop you ARE required to comply with a police officers orders.. as long as they don’t violate your constitutional rights.
19. If I believe I am being unlawfully arrested should I resist the arrest?
If you believe you are being unlawfully arrested, you should NEVER physically resist, Only make a verbal protest of the arrest under duress and seek to punish the officer after the incident by filing charges, a complaint, a Title 42 sec. 1983 lawsuit, or a claim against their public official surety bond.
20. If you are being detained for an invalid reason or the officer cannot articulate any specific facts as to why you are being detained, what should you do?
If you are being detained for an invalid reason or the officer can’t articulate any specific facts as to why you’re being detained, Simply and Politely ask them if you are being detained or if you’re free to go. If the officer still tells you that you are being detained without establishing any evidence of wrongdoing, then it is an unlawful detainment and the officer loses their “Qualified Immunity” leaving them open to a personal lawsuit and bond claim/lien.
21. What do you tell/ask a police officer who has stopped you because you fit the description of A suspect.
If an officer stops you because they say you fit the description of a suspect, you should ask the officer…
• What crime am I suspected of committing?
• What’s the description of the suspect?
• What were they wearing?
• What time did it happen?
• Where did it happen?
• Who was it done too?
22. What do you tell a police officer who tries to handcuff you while you’re just being detained and not arrested?
Being handcuffed without probable cause is a seizure of your person, and a violation of the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
23. What is the main purpose of every police stop?
The main purpose of every police stop is to escalate it to drugs, weapons or or DUI charges.. basically to investigate until they have acquired probable cause to arrest you.
24. Are police required to read me my Miranda rights before I am arrested?
The police are only required to read you your Miranda rights AFTER they arrest you and want to Question you.
25. Is it against the law to record the police while on duty?
It is 100% perfectly legal to record the police in public while on duty.
26. How far should I stand away from police while recording?
When recording police, you should stand at enough distance to not be a danger to officers while performing their duty, which is usually a minimum of 20 to 30 feet.
27. What type of insurance do police officers and public officials need before they are allowed to work?
Public Official Bonds!