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Why You Should Never Talk To The Police

why-you-should-never-talk-to-the-police

(UPDATED)

The police are there to enforce the law – not to interpret the law with regards to a judgement of you and the circumstance you may be in.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be arrested, EVEN IF YOU ARE INNOCENT. But here’s the thing… when a LEO reads you your Miranda rights, take them seriously!

The following information is advice that I have interpreted from Andrew F. Branca, author of the excellent book, The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen

The world is a dangerous place. That’s why you’re prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones. Now arm yourself for the legal battle that happens after an attack. The first fight is for your life – the second for your liberty.

Andrew F. Branca, the renowned expert in self-defense law, teaches you how to make quick, effective, legally appropriate decisions in life-and-death situations. 

~ Andrew F. Branca

Tell them (firmly, but respectfully) that you’re “pleading the fifth” (the 5th Amendment to the Constitution) to avoid self-incrimination and you want an attorney. Keep quiet until you have an attorney – even if you’re innocent!

The Fifth Amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights, and guarantees that a citizen need not give testimony against himself.

Miranda Warning

 The ‘Miranda warning’ wording varies, but here it is:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

Why would you say anything if “ANYTHING” you say can and WILL be used against you?
Hello?

Questioned by the Police

If you are ever in a situation where you are being questioned by the police, the basic advice is this: Do not talk to the police and do not answer any questions without an attorney.

There is some advice out there about initial polite wording. This makes sense. You don’t want to intentionally anger the police by not saying anything at all. Rather, “I’m taking the fifth” and “I would like to talk to a lawyer”.

The point here is to basically keep your mouth shut – until you speak with an attorney (either your own or one appointed to you).

This is not disrespecting the police. When they start questioning you – you might unknowingly incriminate yourself, even if you are innocent!

There’s no need to start blurting out verbal ‘stuff’, especially during the high emotions following an incident. NOTHING that you can possibly say to the police can help you (sounds strange, but true).

There are probably 10,000 ways that you might unknowingly implicate yourself in some sort of a criminal transaction.

THERE IS NO WAY IT CAN HELP (talking to the police)

YOU CANNOT TALK YOUR WAY OUT OF GETTING ARRESTED. Again, you cannot talk your way out of getting arrested. Reread that statement.

Once the police decide to arrest you, that’s it. Don’t resist. Deal with the rest while ‘in the system’ WITH AN ATTORNEY.

You cannot give the police any information that will help you at trial (See the Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)(A)).

What you tell the police CANNOT be used to help you at trial. It may only be used AGAINST you. Otherwise it is referred to as “hearsay” and not admissible. Please understand this.

Inadvertent Self-Incrimination

There’s no rush. If you are guilty or even if you are innocent, any admission of guilt will not benefit you.

There is no rush; there is no need to tell the police something. Even innocent people may inadvertently ‘confess’ to something they did not do.

Even if you are innocent, and deny guilt, and mostly tell the truth, you might easily get carried away and tell some little lie or make some little mistake that will ‘hang’ you.

If you talk, any information will be used against you.

Even if you are innocent, and only tell the truth, you will ALWAYS give the police some information that can be used to help convict you.

“Pleading the fifth”

It’s the label commonly used in the U.S. legal sphere to describe the act of invoking the right against self-incrimination. The fifth, in this case, refers to the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution, which grants various rights to people, including the right not to testify against oneself in a trial.

So, if that terrible situation occurs where there is much uncertainty of facts and circumstances, where someone is injured or dies, or a crime or shooting has occurred, and you are being questioned… do yourself a favor, be very cautious, even as an innocent person, and invoke your 5th Amendment rights immediately when the Police begin to question you. Get a lawyer.

  A ‘must read’ for those who ‘carry’:

The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen

Another important document to be aware of.. !
The Constitution of the United States of America

  Any LEO’s or lawyers out there? What is your opinion?

NOTE: This article has been updated and re-posted. There are some excellent comments to read below (many from LEO’s themselves).

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101 Comments

  1. Would this include some type of neighborhood situation and the police come to your door and ask about such situation?

    What if you call the police because you heard gun shots and wanted to alert them to the activity in the area? And they come to question you further.

    Just a couple things that came to mind.

    1. I believe the author is referring to a situation where you are taken into custody or are for some reason a suspect or person of interest. If you are a victim, complainant, or witness you probably aren’t in jeopardy.

    2. Most of these situations seem innocent enough, especially if you were the person to make initial contact; however please remember that the FBI can arrest you on federal charges for lying to Federal Agents (even if they only think you are lying).

      Try paying attorney’s fees for a case being held in federal court, the Feds can easily bankrupt you even if you’re innocent.

      Take the Fifth and shut up for your own protection.

  2. I totally agree. Let me add one more thing. Don’t even allow yourself to be interviewed by the FBI. Not just because they think you did something wrong but even as a witness or a victim. They do not record their “interviews” and the agents write them up afterwards and write down whatever they want. In other words they could state that you admitted to something even if you never said a word. Once in court their written statements are absolute and you cannot disprove them. The only way to beat this is to have a lawyer and have the lawyer insist the interview take place in his offices and be recorded. Interestingly the FBI will not accept this compromise even to get your testimony to convict someone else.

    1. I actually read about that a while back. I have a good friend who is an agent. I ought to ask him and see what he thinks. For the record, he’s said several times that a lot of agents are uneasy as of late with the whole political situation and the direction we as a country are headed in. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t elaborate.

      1. I have a cousin by marriage that is also and agent and he relayed the same thing… Very uneasy about the state the country is in but wouldn’t elaborate… Keep your head up and eyes open is all I can say.

  3. One little caveat: right before you decide to be silent, make the statement that you’re taking the fifth to avoid self-incrimination and you want an attorney. If you don’t and just remain silent, then in a recent Supreme Court case, it is not implied that you are invoking the Fifth Amendment…only being silent. It’s very important for you legally.

    Law enforcement comes to gather evidence of your guilt…not innocence. That’s what they’re trained to do. Any good law enforcement officer will admit that whatever they promise can be a bold faced lie. They are under no obligation to follow any promises they make.

    It’s long been an established policy by 2nd Amendment supporting organizations to not speak to law enforcement when you discharge your weapon in a home invasion. That has often resulted in over zealous law enforcement turning the tables on innocent home owners and allowing the criminals to sue you.

    We live in very dangerous times.

  4. This certainly was an eye opener. I had no idea things could be so bad. It’s good to be informed. Thanks Ken, I learned something new.

  5. I am a reserve deputy for my county Sheriff’s department. I have worked closely with LEO for several years as a part of my job. As a citizen, I worked with them several years before that by reporting concerns within our county. I would not hesitate to work with my local LEO. They are good guys who only want to go home at the end of the day. I would say the same thing about my local prosecutor, who actually has the final say. I would hesitate and likely not give a statement to a state official, and there is no way I would ever talk to a Fed. Having said this, I live in a fairly conservative state. My community is mostly rural with small town values. I am fairly certain I would not talk to LEO in a larger town/city. I guess my final comment is, don’t trust them unless you know you can trust them…

    1. Chameleon
      all good what you say, about the ones that are “good guys”…but ,
      once they input “whatever” into the computer system, whether it is an investigation, or just a “contact”, likely once in the computer system it is accessible to many more.

  6. As a Former LEO here in PA. I can second this. Do NOT EVER answer any questions without an Attorney. Most people want to help, want to be Honest. The problem with that is people tend to embellish things that may help them make their case for innocence and when what you said is found to be untrue, even if it’s a small and insignificant detail, it’s ground to impeach everything you said as untrue and cast you in a guilty light. That is usually enough for a jury full of morons to convict.

    Even something as small as a speeding ticket. We were taught right from the Academy to ALWAYS ask “Do you know why I pulled you over?” and “Do you know how fast you were going?”…Because those answers WILL be used against you. Even if you answer “I don’t know how fast I was going” can be presented as evidence at summary trial. More so any answer you give can be twisted to mean something else (seen it done quite easily)….

    Bottom Line, especially in today’s Police state of trampled rights I will advised to NEVER, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE INNOCENT, give the police anything they can and will use against you.

  7. Regarding NOT signing a ticket, here in Florida that will automatically get you placed under arrest. Officers are forced to make the arrest if you do not sign. From personal experience I can tell you one of the best ways to get out of a ticket is to be very polite and respectful to an officer if you are ever pulled over. But as stated above do not admit guilt. Most police cars today have dash cams and the officer will be wearing a microphone that is recording everything you say. Smartass or disrespectful remarks will only piss off the judge if and when you go to trial.

    1. You do not need to sign citations in FL. Check your facts jack. The law you speak of is about two years old, no longer a law that one must sign a traffic ticket,

      1. I’ll take the hit on that one I was living out of state when they changed the law and I did not know they had changed it. Thanks for the update.

      2. So what is the big deal about signing the ticket. It is not an admission of guilt simple an acknowledgement of receipt of the ticket and acknowledgement that you pay it OR go to court to contest it.

  8. Memorize this phrase:
    “I expressly invoke the privilege against self incrimination.”

    Justice Breyer recognized how this novel necessity places a nearly insuperable barrier to invoking one’s right to remain silent. Writing for the dissent, Justice Breyer asked, “How can an individual who is not a lawyer know that these particular words [“I expressly invoke the privilege against self incrimination”] are legally magic?”

  9. I’m a former LEO – if they’re asking, they don’t know the answer or otherwise can’t prove you did it. They wouldn’t go through the trouble of asking if they could prove it.

    1. That is not necessarily accurate. I’m not a LEO but I detain theft subjects and work with LE quite often. One thing I’ve learned is, although you are right (in my experience) about them possibly not being able to prove it, you are not always right about them not knowing the answer to the question. LEO’s may ask a question that they know the answer to, to help solidify their perspective of how honest the detainee is going to be with them. There are other ways of determining a subjects honesty, such as body posture, sitting position, arm placement, sight line, etc… but none as effective as knowing the answer to a question.

  10. I am a career LEO. DO NOT answer questions, Invoke your rights under the 5th Amendment! Never give consent to search, and ALWAYS ask for an attorney-respectfully. Trust me, on this.

    1. Used to be a deputy Sheriff , I agree do not give any statement until speaking with an attorney , advise you are involving your 5h Amendment right not to incriminate yourself and you want an attorney . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

  11. Anyone have suggestions how to handle Weapons Carry Licenses during law enforcement traffic stops? I assume that when my drivers license is run by the officer, the system notifies the officer that I have a Weapons Carry License. Luckily I have never been asked about my firearm.

    I usually conceal carry but in warmer months it is pretty hard to conceal a full size .45 while wearing shorts and lightweight shirts. Since I live in a pretty conservative area, I know that LEO’s have seen my weapon imprint but have never harassed me about it.

    I’ve watched some YouTube videos about the subject but would like some of your thoughts on the matter.

    Thanks

    RL

    1. It depends on your specific state laws. In my state, you don’t have to bring any attention at all to it, so I don’t. I do have friends in other states that have to state they are a legal carrier upon the beginning of the stop so they get out their license, registration, insurance, and concealed carry permit and just hand it all over without saying anything about it; that way the officer can’t cut you off inadvertently when you try to explain and then get freaked out when he/she finds out you are armed. At that point, it’s up to the officer if he/she wants to address it.

  12. Again, it depends on your state. In some, you have to tell the officer you’re carrying, in others you don’t. In my opinion, and this is just me, from experience, if you’re stopped and you have a legal CCP:

    Keep you hands on the steering wheel.

    Tell the LEO you’re carrying,(even if not required by that particular state) where it is, and that you have a CCP.

    Ask him what he wants you to do.

    As long as it is reasonable, do it.

    He does have the right to see your license, registration, and proof of insurance, even if you’ve done nothing wrong.

    Don’t answer any more questions, and for God’s sake, do not make ANY fast moves.
    (Except if in Seattle, there you can complain about the Mariners, instant bonding)

    Be respectful no matter how big a jerk he may be, on the street, you’ll lose.

    All above is predicated on you having a legal CCP and the state your in (if not your own) recognizes it. If not, don’t carry concealed, not worth the hassle.

    1. Now, in Florida, if you are pulled over, the cop knows that you have a Concealed Weapon Permit before he approaches your vehicle. He will then ask you if you have any weapons in the vehicle.
      If you say ‘yes’, he may ask to see it. He will then take it back to his vehicle to call it in to make sure it is not on a stolen list. You can expect to wait for 1/2 to 1 hour for this. If, for some reason or another, it doesn’t get cleared (It happens frequently.) he will then take the weapon and tell you to retrieve it at the station later. You will then go through a lengthy process to get it back.
      Next time – just lie !

  13. I am an attorney. This is 100 percent correct. Don’t say a word, be pleasant and polite and ask for an attorney. Always polite and respectful, but be firm. The worst clients are the clients who actually have half a brain and who have been raised to think that “the policeman is your friend.” Not when you are in custody he’s not. If they have you in custody you are not going to talk your way out of it. Just shut up.

  14. Good follow-up repost Ken;

    I might add, if you get pulled over for a traffic stop, or any other reason, even walking or whatever, keep your hands where the officer can see them, and what you’re doing, Tell them you have a CCW/CCP, tell them you have a “weapon” on yourself, and where, AND tell them you have NO intention of getting shot for a mistake. Follow what they tell you to do, do NOT make any fast or stupid moves, if told to get your Reg./Licenses/Proof-of-Insurance tell them where you’re reaching and why…….. And for God’s sake, make sure both you and the officer are able to go home safely to their families.

    If it’s a home invasion, do NOT have a firearm in your hand when the LEO show up, they will probably have no idea who you are and knowing there was a shooting they could think you’re the perp.

    Don’t be dead for a stupid misunderstood mistake. Remember Dead is for a very long time…

    NRP

  15. I am retired LEO,

    I quit halfway through the LSAT realizing I dislike lawyers and read an article that there were too many in this country already.

    I was involved in on-duty shootings. I was polite and sought out defense through a lawyer on advice of my mentors. I trusted some of the people I worked with but every station/precinct may have a real prick(s) on board. I did not want to take the chance that said prick would be in charge of my shooting investigation.

    Investigating officers and their reports are forwarded up the chain of command. The Department may find it easier to flush you out of the system “for the good of the Department Reputation”.

    Lesson learned: Lawyer up. Always. Now days I still do not like socializing with lawyers though I now have a grudging respect for the good ones.

  16. What a great article. It is sad that with some of the crap we teach kids in school these days, our basic rights are really not one of them. Yet another reason I never made it as a teacher. I would surely be on some watch list by now, at least if I had chosen to teach at the college level.

    As I read the article I was thinking about how easily intimidated I might be. I am still coming to find my power in this world – a lifelong journey. It also brought to mind the incident where I was arrested this summer (there is one checked off my bucket list), I had not realized until now that I was not read my Miranda rights. None of us were. It was a planned protest at the Boston Globe, and a few of us intentionally got arrested for trespassing on private property. Perhaps the officers, most of whom looked annoyed as hell by our antics, felt that for a simple case of civil disobedience, the Miranda rights were not necessary, but I am pretty sure that was a big mistake on their part.

    Very interesting read. With the direction our country is headed in, and my unwillingness to sit back and take shit, who knows if my first arrest will be my last.

    1. @ lovelypoet

      “(there is one checked off my bucket list)”

      Girl, you have one strange “bucket list” going on there….

      NRP

      1. Hahaha NRP, I am a little odd for sure. That is probably the only strange one on my bucket list though, and I get the same reaction from everyone I say that to.

  17. To lovelypoet:

    You were not arrested. You were detained for a limited amount of time prior to being released without charges being filed. Though your visit was unpleasant, I hope you did not suffer too many privations.

    When charges are filed, then you will be read your Miranda Rights.

    The last time I had a chance to talk with a Public Defender in California, the average time they had to review a case file was 11 minutes prior to entering the courtroom. Face time with the defendant was not mandatory. Public Defenders office has 2 types of lawyers in there: 1. the impassioned idealist or 2. the bottom of the class that passed the bar on second try and they need a job.

    If you can afford it, obtain your own attorney with your private funds. There is an addendum to the Miranda rights saying that: “an Attorney will be appointed for you FREE OF CHARGE.” Among the legal profession, you get what you pay for. For firearms related issues, contact the NRA-ILA.

  18. I always cringe when I watch COPS and see all the idiots give away their rights thinking they can talk themselves out of being arrested.

  19. police have turned into an para military org. some good advice here, in words even the most know all person in the world should remember

    KEEP YOUR DAMN MOUTH SHUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Remember, the police have their assets on the chopping block as much as anyone, especially if there is an expedient need by the political powers to find a fall guy. Their job is not easy but you are correct, keep your mouth shut.

  20. Another important point is whether or not you are being detained. You can be detained for questioning without ever being arrested. If you are not being detained, you are free to walk away. There are some great YouTube videos about this, and how to respectfully deal with LEOs and de-escalating the situation while maintaining your rights.

  21. I had two lawyers (one was a former DA) tell me once “DON’T TALK TO THE POLICE AND DON’T TRUST THEM”. That was over twenty years ago, sounded like good advice then, and still does, even more so now.

  22. I recently completed 6 months of service on a grand jury. In a lot of the cases, if the suspect had known their rights and acted wisely, they never would have been prosecuted. The LEO’s definitely took advantage, or maybe they didn’t even quite know the law either. The other grand jurors didn’t know or maybe didn’t care about legal searches or rights of the accused. Almost every one voted true bill on each count and was just in a hurry to leave.

    1. I served on a petit jury, and let me tell you, there should be an intelligence test, I was chosen to hear 2 cases, 1 criminal case that was a slam dunk, and 1 civil case…the civil case was an automobile accident, and the majority of the jury wanted to just find liability and go home. The prevailing reasoning was, who cares, the insurance company will pay. Well, first of all, in NH you are not required to have auto insurance, secondly, it damn well does matter, we all pay for it in increased rates…needless to say, I fought the tide and turned it from 10-2 for the plaintiff to 12-0 for the defendant. Of course, seeing the plaintiff acting all sore and hurt in the courtroom (3 years after the accident) to practically skipping down the sidewalk at lunch break (not realizing the jury uses a separate entrance) didn’t hurt either…

    2. I’ve been called in for jury duty 3 times in my life. The last time was an eye opener. One of the questions on the questionnaire was “if testimony was given by a law enforcement officer, would you take it as truthful and honest?”. I wrote no. After all the clipboards were handed back to the court clerk, they went through the sheets quickly and then started calling names out. The clerk smiled and said that our services were not needed and thank you for being good citizens.

      As we walked out and were going down the hallway, I asked the group what did they put in for the last question (LEO testimony)? Everybody in the group said “no”.

      That told me right there the deck was stacked against against any defendants.

      1. That’s why you should answer questions the way they want you to answer them so you can get on the jury. Being on the jury means you can practice jury nullification and at the very least guarantee no conviction or convince others to acquit. Being on a jury is a position of power. By being very honest during jury selection you guarantee that yes men for the government will get on the jury. Don’t do that. Hold your tongue and then stick it to them when you vote not guilty against an abusive law.

  23. Also, as I have pounded into my daughters 20 year old brain, if they are asking, you can decline. If they ask you to open your trunk,glove box,…whatever, you can decline and it can not be used against you. The reason they are asking is because they are on a fishing expedition…if they have cause, it will not be a request. Do not let the uniform intimidate you, standing your ground and knowing your rights are not probable cause.

    1. Kevin’s is absolutely correct.
      Far too many law enforcement officers today, “go fishing”, and use subtle interrogation techniques to gain permission to search concepts or, “implied consent” to search property and vehicles.
      Keep your mouth shut.
      Keep your mouth shut.
      Keep your mouth shut.
      As one who spent 27 years in municipal and Federal law enforcement as a criminal investigator, the majority of suspects arrested, TALK THEMSELVES Into jail.
      You do not have the luxury of knowing which officers, agents or troopers are lazy (one year’s worth of experience repeated 10 of 20 times), and who the true professionals really. Most cops do they job just well enough to still collect their paychecks, in my personal and professional experienc
      When asked to speak, decline, and I always suggest people say, “On advice of my counsel, to protect my liability, I will answer questions only when my attorney is present.”(for matters of personal defense or when involved in any physical altercation or violence response.)

      1. @ TpSnodgrass “Kevin’s is absolutely correct.” Could you please tell that to my wife?

    2. Yep,, and then when they taser you and dragyouin then dont chargeyou you can do likemy friend and sue them,,, he got a 1.5 million payout to settle outof court

  24. It says on the ticket that this is not an admission of guilt just an agreement to appear. By refuseing to sign you have refused to appear and they DO have the right to detain you at that point.

  25. WildBill,
    In ALL fifty states, a traffic citation , is a “promise to appear”, in lieu of immediate arrest and being taken to a judge for a hearing on your case.
    By refusing to sign the citation, you are (were) refusing to appear, in lieu of posting bail for your offense. The arrest was warranted, because you refused to promise to appear. Your temper got the best of you. I am not trying to denigrate your normal response in any way, however, you alone chose to elevate and escalate your traffic stop into an arrest situation.
    That, my friend, is the main rea most people get arrested, they escalate because they lose control of their emotions.son

  26. Real good advice, my better half thinks im silly to be wary of the coppers, ive seen them screw over an innocent person to make themselves look like they are doing their job,,,,

  27. Most speeding tickets state on them you have the right to object to the ticket fine and you could set a court date to defend yourself. If the ticketing officer does not show up, and you plead innocent to the ticket charges, you will be let go. Happened to me and many others I knew who got stopped unreasonably in this one town.

    1. Don’t be an Idiot !
      Sign the ticket & shut up !
      You will have your day in court !
      That is the only sensible thing to do !

  28. Brings a whole new understanding of ” Protect and Serve “.
    They serve the interests of of the government, sooo?
    Who do they really protect.
    ?

  29. Maybe it’s just my state, mi. But for the most part i have had pretty decent dealings with the police. I’ve probably ran into more good cops than bad ones. Most are just doing their job. Even when they are lying about something Ex, how fast i was driving i politely tell them that they are mistaken. The other times i just hired a good lawyer. I never got mad when arrested, always polite and just let the lawyer handle the rest. Being a jerk does not put you in good graces with the prosecutor and he will find out what kind of attitude you have. A bad attitude will not help your case at all. A bargain basement lawyer will get you a bargain basement sentence. A good lawyer will get the case dismissed. You can pay the money to the court or pay the money to the lawyer and walk. It worked for Delorean and OJ. By the time you pay the court, probation fees and the price of a cheap lawyer you could have hired a good attorney.

  30. 25 yrs and I still get evidence on people that just won’t shut the hell up. Unless it is a general conversation DON’T ANSWER QUESTIONS DON’T SAY ANYTHING. I’ll read miranda they say no statement and then they can’t shut their mouth on the way to jail. People always have something to say. Human being alway want to communicate and they say things, expecially when they are “guilty” want to say thing that clear them. Even before we give miranda, ANYTHING you say will be put in the report. STOP talking, don’t even discuss the weather. The police already know if they are going to arrest you. No matter what you say. Nothing you say is going to change that. From experience, do not talk to us about a crime you are being accused of. My two cents.

  31. There was a time in my life when the direction it would take was in question, because of this I have had more than what most here would call a normal number of encounters with the police. First, in all of that mess I’ve only met ONE cop who was a complete a#$hole. Most of them have been professionals and we’re just doing their jobs.

    This is the TRUTH: I have talked my way INTO jail once and will never forget that. There were 3 police that day and none of them wanted to arrest me but I wouldn’t shut up… so take heed. Shut up, be quiet.

    Once while trying to cooperate I followed an officers instructions and believe it or not… by doing so… that’s what got me arrested. Don’t be fooled, they know the law better than you do unless you ARE a lawyer. In that case a fair judge admonished the officer and let me go. But not until I had gotten a lawyer and spent more money than I could spare at the time. Now I try to THINK before I comply… they are not beyond being deceitful in their dealings with you.

    Long stories short… I agree: Be nice but don’t talk. If you’re in a situation that involves police… you’ve ALREADY got trouble. Don’t make it worse.

    The shame of all this is even if you’re innocent it’s going to cost you money. Other than traffic tickets I’ve never been convicted of ANYTHING… ever, but oh it has cost me dollars I wish I could have back.

    Take care all…

  32. Let’s put a little twist on this , you’re involved in a self defense shooting OK we should not talk to the police without a lawyer Under the fifth amendment , I would imagine the only information you should give them is your name And That you feared for your life Point out if the other person had a weapon and where it is ? Should I point out that there are witnesses , ((((( but what about a witness it could be your wife your brother your sister or a friend They witnessed you defending yourself they could also make mistakes explaining what happened (( do they also have the right to remain silent)) , how would this affect The outcome, many self-defense shootings have a witness or A couple witnesses they could be family or strangers.

    1. Wylie ….DONT ANSWER ANY PO0LICE QUESTIONS WITHOUT A LAWYER…especially in scenario you mentioned. Call 911, report a break in, shots fired and man / threat is down. Put the gun down, step away from it and call a lawyer.

      1. Timely repost of an article, Ken.

        Yeah, that session really got me thinking.
        It’s been a few years since my law enforcement classes, and if I recall your spouse cannot testify against you in a court of law?
        But what about a live in partner? And OMG…social media would definitely have you.
        I would definitely not say a word to anyone, but to an attorney now a days.

        Your cell phone, Alexa, numerous video cams, what have you, would be used against you…..not just the police. It only takes the right prosecutor to make your life a living hell.
        Law abiding or not
        Guilty until proven Innocent.

        1. Joe c — check on that spouse thing….I understood it to be …”does not have to testify”..(not cannot). That is, can if so chooses. Live in partner…mmmm

          yes, Alexa, as others have said…amazing how folks are choosing to lose privacy to this and other similar things…In China they are recording everything about everyone, videoing them out and about, and keeping records (litterly). They give each citizen a “social accountability” score (or some such). If govt doesn’t like the score, citizen is banned fr certain privileges/kids banned fr certain schools/banned from certain travel/etc…Well, at least China is somewhat honest about what it is doing. It is not a secret. Which lettered agency is scooping up all North America data?

    2. A self defense shooting is a legal nightmare. If you carry a gun without carry insurance your crazy.

      All you can really say is that “I was in feared for my family’s lives and my life, so I tried to stop him.” After that tell the police respectfully, that you understand they need more information and you will be happy to speak to them once your lawyer is present.

      You will likely be arrested and will likely will be out on bond the next day to begin a legal nightmare. Which will certainly end in a civil legal battle with your attacker’s family, who are “victims” now.

      You will likely weather the criminal trial but the civil fight is a much lower burned of proof for “damages”.

      Get Carry Insurance!

  33. Only in America can we be convinced that it’s so cool or so wonderful to run our homes by voice control AND THUS buy our own Surveillance Devices. So much free data we donate along with our Facebook lives, DNA tests and such.

    Recently here in New England a man was convicted of a crime from his DNA reports.

    How many true stories of how Alexia and Seri is recording every word you say AND recent court cases have successfully USED those recordings against you. Even your Smart interactive TV and remote is something Orville’s 1984 would understand.

    A computer and a dumb cell phone is useful enough I tolerate it knowing how even they can be used against me.

    No Internet of Things (AKA Smart Fridges etc.) for me thanks.

    1. 9-1-1
      Starts recording milliseconds after hitting the last one, whether there is or not a dispatcher on the other end.

    2. Smart anything. Smart coffeemakers, smart drills, smart water heaters, smart stoves. I wonder if all these “smart” appliances could be used as a booster for 5G? How many of them are recording?

      1. Lauren,
        sure, they are all recording. Also, think of the info an agency could “figure out”, by analysing patterns of use, etc.. (when you’re home/how many/etc etc)

        1. I saw a set of tools a while back at a hardware store–advertised as “smart.” They could communicate with each other, transfer settings, the tape measure could transfer measurements, etc. They could communicate with your cell phone. Cringeworthy. WHY???

  34. Absolutely critical to follow this advice. And, if you think you are safe because you live in the unicorn country of Canada, you are not. In Canada it is quite legal for the police to lie to you (George says he saw you do it before you passed out, Mike says such and such , etc). Have seen/heard many instances where a person only got charged/convicted because they babbled/tried to “help”.

    Also, in Canada, many law enforcement departments (not certain it is all across Canada, but many)…have this very odd record keeping /custom. For example, if an employer does a police background check for criminality/perversion charges, well that might be well commended. However, many police departments when presented with this query, will respond in the affirmative even if you have had any police contact==== such as….you called police to report an intruder……//// you called police because the neighbor’s dog was digging up your yard—-/// you called police because you found a confused elderly person….///you called police for most any reason. Apparently these will all get you tossed into some general file, and if you ever have a police background check for work..caught in the net. — Have read a few articles in Canada re folks caught in this net and denied employment/other opportunities due to this. Folks had to spend much bucks / lawyers to try to get sorted. — Does make one think twice …

    1. If this is the case in Canada then I will absolutely not report a wandering elder even in the depths of winter…sad nation. Also, it is probably dangerous to report a drug-dealing neighbor if one had suspicions? Thoughts? I am not talking about some student smoking marijuana but about larger operations buy/sell and distribute if it were in your part of town? Also I guess this could hypothetically even involve not reporting suspected arson, suspicious vehicle, person, terrorism, etc.? Even if it was useful information some police sell lists of complainants for money to those who will kill them is my understanding. Thoughts? The idea of the neighborhood cop is past. Many seniors see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. Just ignore it. They may be playing bingo but they are not senile and know much more than they ever let on or talk about. Maybe it is because they survived world war two?

  35. Law Enforcement Officers Investigate and Arrest. Generally speaking they are not here to Serve and Protect.

  36. Lauren
    Yeah
    I don’t even feel safe peeing in my own home….I choose…off the deck….
    but then….there are the satellites, gooble maps,
    passerby-ers.

    I ain’t safe anywhere

    1. Is funny….but not.
      The kids bought us a Fire stick for Christmas, last year.
      Future DIL says,
      Yeah, you can ask Alexa for….
      FWTB says,
      You should have seen your own expression when she said that.

      Thanks, kids, but that device is not permitted in my home….

  37. I have a question about the police action known as “detaining” a person.

    I have seen officers on televised shows “detain” someone, and they put that person in handcuffs. I knew nothing of this law, or the ability of the police officers to do this in the US until I began seeing it on television.

    When I first saw it happen, I was completely confused….and disgusted. Since then, I’ve seen it quite often on police shows. If a person is not a threat, or being arrested, why does the officer have the legal right to handcuff someone?

    From what I’ve seen, if a person is being detained and they choose to not say anything (‘plead the Fifth’), nothing good can come of it. In my eyes, a person being detained is essentially being questioned, even interrogated, but that person has not been arrested or been told that they have any rights whatsoever.

    Personally, I believe if this happened to me, I would say nothing. At that point, the officer(s) would arrest me, I’m sure. What would the charges be — unwilling to ‘cooperate’ or ‘withholding’ information or resisting a police officer?

    Can someone explain it to me?

    1. MT
      Ok so anybody can correct me if I’m wrong…
      So those few years of education might be….almost a couple decades….
      But being detained is….
      For my safety and yours….
      Basically, let me find out what is going on in this particular circumstance. And if questioned, you have the Right not to answer, without consulting an attorney first
      U are not being under arrest at this time of detainment.

    2. Where I work we can only detain individuals who we believe to be a danger to themselves or others. Like being high on drugs, mental subjects, or someone trying to hide a weapon maliciously. Detaining is temporary. A arrest or release decision should be made promptly.

    3. Modern Throwback,

      Use of this probably varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but settled case law does allow that a person, who can reasonably be considered a witness to or to have knowledge of a criminal act, be detained long enough to determine their name, address, and other contact information. If they refuse, or if they are unable to provide proof of I.D. and other info necessary to locate later, they can be held until they provide proof of I.D.

      You have the right to be silent, not to refuse to identify if you are a witness. In rare instances, if circumstances dictate that the officer’s attentions are necessary to quell a continuing situation and feels the witness(es) may flee before peace is restored, you may be detained until they are satisfied with your proof of I.D., at which time you would be released. This last example is the only reason you might be restrained without first being allowed to identify yourself and go on your way………unless you were a part of thee criminal activity.

    4. Thanks for answers. I also did a little reading on how a detention is handled in Virginia.
      From what I understand, I need to provide my name if I am detained.

      In general, in Virginia if a person is detained if there is some type of threat, possible threat, suspicion, etc. When I saw the televised shows, each instance involved a person who met one of those criteria. LEOs weren’t putting cuffs on just anyone….In most instances, the person being detained was either a PITA, a threat, or had possible outstanding warrant(s). I understand the need for control and order for the LEOs sake, but in several instances, the person wasn’t combative — but wasn’t admitting to outstanding warrants, either. LOL Still, for me, living in an area where I’m not around this kind of stuff, it was unusual to see because I was very unaware/uninformed.

      Detaining someone just to harass is what would concern me. Or being detained if I was caught up in a situation where others were committing a crime or somehow involved in a questionable situation . From what I read, an officer can’t simply detain a person without a reason to do so.

      I think I have a little better understanding, but I don’t wanna test anything. I’ll stay in my safe-zone, avoid crowds, and not hang with the crack heads or gang members. lol

  38. Disclaimer I am a Deputy.

    Depends what the police are coming to your door for. Depends on the agency in your area and how they conduct themselves. Depends on a lot. Keep in mind policing does not function well without tips and help from the community. Particularly in low to medium crime areas. Self initiated calls are slow coming if your in a quiet patrol area.

    Go to City Council meetings and County meetings. Get to know your police and their values. If your in an area too large for that to work then you probably have more important things to worry about.

    Please remember that Miranda Warnings are not necessary in some states. Ya that is right. It is not required where I work for an arrest. A Miranda Warning in my area is only needed when you have custody (Not Free to Leave) AND interrogation (Questioning), IF you want the statements to hold up in court.

    Be Safe Everyone!

  39. Keeper
    One thing that confused the hell out of me…..
    I was a reserve for several departments….for X? years.
    I can only count, on a severely stubby hand, how many times an arrested person was read their Miranda Rights.
    If once arrested, those rights need to be pronounced, correct??
    No.matter the.circumstance?

    1. Joe- LEO for 18 years. If arrested, but you don’t intend to question the person then you don’t have to administer MIranda warnings. Good practice says you always do so to protect anything said, but not mandatory.

    2. No, you do NOT need to read Miranda Warnings in my State. You only need to read them if you have them in Custody (Handcuffs, not free to leave, etc.) and your are interrogating (Questioning) them, AND IF you want the statements to be held up in court.

      Most of my arrests in the field are done when I believe I have proof beyond a reasonable doubt (Enough for Guilty Verdict). So I don’t care what they have to say, so I do not question them, I do listen however. If I am only half way there (Probable Cause) I usually just cite and release on most minor offenses. Except for certain must arrest crimes (Domestic Violence) and serious crimes in which I believe I can establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt with the investigation.

  40. If I remember right…

    You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
    If you seek an attorney…….

    1. 😎👍🏻
      Guilty or not
      You should NEVER say anything other than “I want an attorney”
      PERIOD!
      This is what an attorney i know told me when a group of us were discussing some stuff.
      He said that is all you need to say period

  41. Couple of observations from an old street cop.
    Seems to be a lot of confusion about the Miranda warning. A couple of things to consider. Most arrests are “on view, in the act”, meaning the officer saw the offense occur, who the perpetrator was, and made the arrest immediately. In cases like this, they are not depending on any information you might offer him/her. He may “read you your rights”….or not, under these circumstances. It’s to his/her advantage to do so, just in case you want to add to his/her evidence, but most times the officer has a stand alone case. Nothing you say is needed to help the case. If you do offer evidence, if the officer didn’t advise you of your rights, it won’t be allowed in court. Another thing to consider is excited utterances” or “res gestae statements”. These fall outside the Miranda rule. These are what will get you in trouble. Talking in the heat of the moment, thinking out loud, trying to justify in your mind…and anyone listening, what happened. In the aftermath of a self defense action is not the time to run your mouth. If you can calmly and TRUTHFULLY articulate, without embellishment, why you were in fear of losing your life or of suffering grave bodily injury, or preventing same to a third party, it is not going to hurt your situation. It can help determine the direction of the investigation. Requesting counsel before answering any further questions would be completely understandable and expected by the investigators.

  42. I just read all of the comments. What happened to America where we now fear the bad guys and the good guys? Can we really live without trusting anyone? As for lawyers, are we at this place in time because of them?

    1. Jed,
      My takeaway from this is not about “fearing” anyone. Rather, keeping one’s mouth shut after an incident until one can obtain legal council.

      I have read the book referenced in the article and it is VERY good, and eye opening in this regard.

      Recommended for anyone who may carry a firearm and the unlikely event that it’s actually used in an incident.

    2. Fear isn’t about the good or the bad guy. The fear in this case is what you will say or do in an emotionally charged event that you don’t have experience in. Even officers involved in shoots don’t make statements until a certain amount of time has passed and until they talk to someone.
      The fear is from the only one that can hurt you when in fact you were in the right. That person is you.
      Just look at the statements made online here that prompted this reposting. No ones even got shot and I’m cringing.
      Every since we were small children we’ve been taught to explain things quickly especially when accused. That teaching combined with narcissism, ego and even just wanting to be helpful will get you in a wreck.
      It’s pretty simple in that all the people and professionals who deal with this for a living like law enforcement, lawyers, insurance professionals all the way to the founding fathers are telling you to be quiet after a shooting.

  43. That’s why I enjoy watching COPS! It is hilarious to watch all the fools try to talk their way out of being arrested while in the meantime they just continue to implicate themselves and give the police even more evidence against themselves.

    The only time I see it done right is when they arrest the true gangbangers on a simple traffic stop turned drug bust or weapons possession. Those guys button right up and say nothing. I guess experience comes into play for them.

  44. As a LEO, local, state and federal, for 28 years, this is absolutely the best advice you can give to anybody in this situation. Whenever a cop gets himself in trouble, that’s what he/she does and it’s what their Union tells them to do.

  45. an update some 25+ years after my last shooting inquiry: turning in my badge and gun for the last time.

    There is life after a shooting though your life will change in many ways in the immediate aftermath.

    Several shootings angered members of organized gangs to include outlaw motorcycle gangs and an ethnic gang associated with our neighbor-to-the-south. When that happened, relocation took place quietly and rapidly. Relocating like that is expensive so I refer to that as the $10,000 rule.

    It will cost you about $10,000 to move and re-establish yourself in another community and I also had the benefit of some help from members of the US Marshall’s service who gave me tips and pointers to maintain a low profile. ( My first shooting was as a fed so the help from the Marshal’s Service was welcome.). Keep in mind that these were 1980 dollars and did not take into account inflation.

    I had a professional license back then and I upgraded my license since then so I make good money as a middle class worker these days. Some of my former coworkers tried to help me after I was cut by getting me jobs in security. I did some of that and the money came in handy for a few years. ( Many thanks to those guys-most of them are gone now.).

    I still look closely at the patches of motorcycle riders and do internet searches when I see a chopped Harley roll by. I look at the tattoos of hispanic people on the streets and at work. ( I love Mexican food but I keep my distance from the Chicano Lowrider culture.).

    I walk my dog these days without a gun on my person and I do not hang out with young type A’s that go out seeking trouble at local bars. Today I am cooking a rack of baby back ribs with my wife while we deep water the trees in my backyard.

    My computer involvement is minimal. I have no Facebook page. I shop for food at my local stores and I read the paper in paper form. ( no Amazon or Kindle for me.) I am not politically active though I make monetary contributions. ( all good suggestions by the Wit Sec program years ago).

    Yes, it happened long ago. Being hunted back then still affects my behavior patterns today. My wife’s father came from a police/military career so he and she both understand my quirks and odd behaviors.

    1. Calirefugee,

      Thank you for your work. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifice.

      Those that can, and will….do, those who can’t….or won’t….criticize. Always been that way, regretfully………probably always will be that way.

      You’ve seen the beast. You have engaged the beast. You survived the ensuing battle. In a better world you would not have been a sacrifice. You refused to be a victim and built on the experience rather than drown in self pity. You’re to be admired. I’m proud to know you as a friend, albeit long distance and anonymously. Maybe someday…..in a better world.

    2. I moved out of a condo building because I was scared of the drug dealer. I had to take a financial hit due to lawyer’s fees, land transfer tax, moving expenses, etc. but I simply could not live in a building with this going on. I remember selling the unit for low market value, and disposing of anything not neutral as residents can use lobby watch to tape 24/7 people coming and going from the building. I did not want him to have me on tape with any current clothing. I was very angry and depressed for a while due to the injustice of it. Even condo board members become frightened. Sometimes the best thing is to just move. Several other residents in the building also sold their units and moved. Maybe this idiot eventually died from an overdose of Fentanyl. I have read your post and my guess is that you are saying that in your previous job as a LEO you arrested organised crime Mexican cartel drug dealers and Hell’s angels who have associates that would come after you? Thus the eternal vigilance?

  46. even tho it was a turning point in getting Zimmerman into bogus court – very little ever mentioned about 911 calling ….

    besides the Joe Friday “just the facts ma’am” advise – hang up the damn phone – don’t allow any side conversations to be overheard and absolutely no background noises that could be used against you – find a car or go back into the house to assure some confidentiality ….

  47. If you conceal carry, get Law Shield or something similar. Keep your mouth shut and plead the 5th and call Law Shield. I carry their card in my wallet. It is good insurance. This is what I was told when taking my conceal carry class. Was pulled over one time for speeding, I offered my conceal carry license with my drivers license. The officer asked if I was “packing” and I said yes sir. He asked what kind, I told him. His response, cool. That was it. I was polite, he was polite. We talked about the weather. I got a warning for speeding, haha. (I was speeding…oops) No big deal. Of course this is Texas, conceal carry is not a big deal. Most cops I have encountered have been nice and I just try to show respect.

  48. Thank you Dennis for your kind words. Truth be told, I made some bad decisions in my younger years choosing the path of increased likelihood of a bad or violent outcome.

    ( joint Task Force conducting raids on known violent offenders at their hide outs. just another aspect of Reagan’s War on Drugs back in the day. My Mentors told me I would never get my 20 years in doing that kind of work.)

    I met my wife in a Community College Trade school program several years later. I was coming off of my first career gone south. She was coming off a marriage that went south. I was looking to settle down and she had some trust issues.

    This site is good because there are not a lot of wanna-be-tough guys/gals posting, minimal number of mall ninjas or frustrated tripwire junkies posting.

    When people talk tough at the range, I am now the old quiet guy with the 45 1911 that was made before they were born. I pack up my gear, clean up my trash and go home to my spoiled dog, fat cats and my wife who is still married to me. I was serious about settling down years ago.

    That is why I do not want STHTF, world with no law and order etc. If that were to happen, I stand to lose much more these days.

  49. – I have debated long and hard with myself over responding to this post. As a particular type of Fed (I was a classified courier for several years), we were told in theory we had “Police Powers”, i.e. we were capable of arresting someone if we had to.

    In practice, it was a bad idea, because we wouldn’t be able to do our actual job if we did. We were told to always try and detain someone if necessary and possible and let the police, usually but not always M.P.’s in my case, do any arresting that needed to be done.

    Most of the time that procedure worked. I did have one man, so drunk he could barely stand, trying to get into his car and drive. I was off-duty at the time and he refused to be ‘detained’, “Naw, you’re gonna have to arrest me,”
    (I’m not sure how that changed things, because I never even had a pair of handcuffs)

    At any rate, I said the fateful words, and when the M.P.’s arrived a few minutes later they transported him, and me, to the station where I was the arresting officer of record. A friend, a senior M.P., took pity on me and walked me through the paperwork while my drunk slept it off in a holding cell.
    A few days later, when the case came up for trial, his lawyer had evidently talked to him. It was routine to obtain a blood alcohol on someone arrested for alcohol related incidents, and although I no longer remember the exact number, it was 0.2something.

    He decided a PI was preferable to a career-ending or possibly life-ending DWI, and had it gone to court-martial, it would still have been potentially career-ending. He pled guilty, and saved me that potential day in court, maybe even realizing I had done him a favor.

    That was my only true arrest; I have done paperwork in the back of a Sheriff’s patrol squad car following shooting at another individual (he went to jail, where they had multiple wants and warrants on him to include burglary, rape, attempted murder and murder) and I ‘detained’ another at rifle point in my front yard. (Multiple drug counts, including the baggie of pills they finally found a few doors down in a flowerbed; he had some other charges pending also). There have been a few others, as well.

    Arresting people was not my job. My job was moving money, weapons, people, and most especially paper when it was of a sensitive nature.

    There is a huge difference in detained and arrested, believe me. In both the cases above, I was ‘detained’. In the first, having a fired gun in my hand when the police showed up, I was even briefly in handcuffs. They gave me back my gun and ammunition before they left to take the other idiot to the county jail.

    – Papa S.

  50. This is a topic on how to conduct yourself in the aftermath of a deadly force usage. Thought should be given on avoidance of having to engage to start with. Some thoughts…….

    If you’re not involved in illegal drugs, their use or their sale, you are much less likely to encounter violence.

    If you don’t live in, work in, or frequent known high crime areas your chances drop dramatically.

    If you carry, do so only as a last resort means of protecting yourself and loved ones, not to play cops and bad guys.

    Swallowing your pride and disengaging safely, no matter how right you think you are, is always, I repeat, always, preferable to what always, I repeat, always, follows a shooting.

    Don’t insert yourself into someone else’s fight, even if you think you know who is in the right. (this one is especially hard for retired leo’s who spent a career separating combatants and running to the fight, not away) Exception would be for family and loved ones. (unless it’s your volatile cousin who is always getting into fights)

    Know your state laws on using deadly force. Not just vaguely from a concealed carry course, but intimately, like the words to your favorite song. Set your own thresholds, mine is protecting life and preventing severe bodily injury. I’ll not kill to protect property.

    Don’t envision yourself as being the hero winning the day.

    The decisions you make in microseconds will be studied and critiqued for days by people who don’t love you, or know you.

    There’s more, but something to think about now, not after the fact.

  51. I have to unlearn all the rules I was taught growing up in order to deal with and protect myself against the corruption in society. A generation ago, police conducted neighborhood beats whereby they patrolled areas. Thus public education regarding safety from crime was normal and residents did talk to the police. This was before any contact with 911, even reporting an accident that you had no involvement in, reporting concern about an elderly neighbor’s well-being, etc. could lead a person to being denied entry into a foreign country or concerns about a security clearance required for work. This was before cops did not believe residents when they reported suspected drug dealing in the area. Nowadays it is far safer to avoid talking to them and even volunteering in the community, even if a good person. I thus do not report any suspicious activity unless it concerns me directly and even then it is far safer to use crime stoppers as it is, I hope, anonymous. Even the police would prefer that residents do not report drug dealing to them and use crime stoppers. There are far too many cases of police selling information to criminals which could lead to the death of concerned citizens. It is not only the police but other institutions that have gone downhill such as the church with all its child abuse scandals. Many people have thus stopped attending church over the past 20 years or so. It is also more difficult to get volunteers than it used to be due to the liability issues. The problem is if a person is old school and has not yet adopted the cynicism needed to survive in today’s society. I would not even report a homicide today if I saw it as I believe that there is no legal compunction to do so and I need to put my safety first. One simply cannot do the right thing anymore. There is so much corruption at all levels of government that the innocent truly have no chance and are better off hidden and below the radar. One really needs to adopt the position that if people choose to do drugs, then it is their problem even if they die from an overdose, and the community does not have any responsibility to report drug dealing as there is no protection for said community. Best to put up a tall fence and shutter the windows. The worst thing is that ordinary people would get on a police database if they complain, even about criminality. It can and will be used against you. Why be foolish?

  52. Cynic
    With all due respect, the behavior you describe is a large part of our society’s problem. You or a family member could possibly be that “unreported” crime victim. I would hazard to guess if a perp dragged you into a van while you screamed and he drove off with you in the van……..you would maybe hope someone at least reported it, even if it did not rise to the level of “legal compunction???” If people stand by and do nuthin………they should expect nuthin in return.

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