On August 21st The Libertas Project hosted an event called “Know Your Rights”. These are ten things we learned from defense attorney Mark Deters.

1. Know That You Are Being Recorded

Most police vehicles have video and audio devices inside and outside their vehicles. Some police are starting to wear video cameras and audio devices. Thus, act like you are being recorded at all times. They will use these recordings as evidence against you. In some cases the police will act inappropriately and will conveniently “lose the video”. This is why it is advisable to turn on your phone’s video camera whenever you are interacting with police. It is for your own safety.

2. Keep Your Mouth Shut!

Law enforcement officers are trained to get people to admit to criminal activity. This makes their job significantly easier. Therefore, in your own self-interest you should keep your answers to a minimal (Yes, No, Maybe so). Do not: Apologize, talk, explain, or give an excuse. None of these will help you.

3. Provide What They Ask For

When a police officer asks for your driver license and insurance card be ready to hand them over. Do not give your health insurance card! Deters said that many people will accidentally hand over the wrong card and this does not look good when brought up in court, seems like you are intoxicated. If you do not have your license say, “Officer, I’m sorry, I don’t have my license with me. Can I give you my license number, social security number, dob, name, etc?”. If you do not have a license or insurance card or your license is suspended refer to rule #2 (KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT). Do not admit to not having insurance.

4. Ask the Cop: “Officer, Why Did You Stop Me?”

You have a legal right to know why the police officer stopped you. They have to tell you this information. If they do not tell you why, please refer to rule #2 (KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT). Do not argue with a police officer, you can argue in court and win.

5. Never Admit To a Crime

If you are pulled over for speeding, drinking, using drugs, or jay walking never admit to it. This does not mean that you argue with the cop. Example of phrases you could say: “I have a constitutional right to remain silent”, “I am exercising that right”, “Please stop asking me questions”, “Please stop violating my right to counsel”, “Please stop violating my right to due process of law”, and “Please stop violating my right against unlawful search and seizure”.

6. Shut Your Mouth! No Matter What the Officer Says!

After you have provided the officer will all of the mandatory information and have explained that you are exercising your right to remain silent, REMAIN SILENT. Some people state that they will be invoking this right to remain silent then answer all the officers questions afterwards which does not help your case if it goes to court.

7. All Roadside Field Sobriety Tests are Voluntary!

Field sobriety tests include reciting the alphabet, counting backwards, walking a line, balancing on one leg, and on site breathalyzers. None of these tests have been scientifically proven to show if a person is drunk or intoxicated. The police are trying to build a case against you and this is why it is all being video/audio recorded. Do not be intimidated into doing these voluntary tests.

8. Do Not Consent to a SEARCH of YOU or Your VEHICLE!

There is no need to argue with a cop just tell them that you do not consent. You can also ask that your car be locked and left at the scene of the stop. If the police tow your vehicle they are mandated to search it. Make sure that you are clear in that you DO NOT GIVE YOUR CONSENT!

9. Talk To A Lawyer Before You Take or Refuse Any Test!

If you are convicted of a DUI or UVI and you refused to take a breathalyzer at the station (not on the road), then you could face up to a year of having your licenses suspended. Do not let the fear of this repercussion effect your decision. You need to call your lawyer and ask what you should do. There are some counties where it is advisable to take the test and there are some where it will only hurt. A lawyer can estimate what your blood alcohol levels are at and advise you on taking the test. Taking a chemical test creates evidence that you consumed alcohol and/or drugs and the specific quantity. There are minimum jail sentences, fines, and court costs for specific quantities.

10. “No Refusal” Checkpoints

There are several states that now have “No Refusal” checkpoints. This means that if you refuse a field sobriety tests and breathalyzer, they have a judge on site ready to issue a mandatory blood drawing. The blood drawing will be done by a untrained police officer and by state law they are not held accountable for the damage that they do to your body. In the state of Ohio we do have these “No Refusal” checkpoints, but there has not been a case of forced blood drawing. Mark Deters said that the first person this happens to he will represent them for free.

If you have any other questions about interacting with police please leave a question below or contact Mark Deters at mark@markdeters.com, 937-434-7100 or his website thedaytonduiattorney.com 

Michael Esch