Just a quick note before I head out (will catch up on updates tonight when I get back) -- here is a video I feel that everyone should watch. It's a lecture given by a professor that explains why it is important to exercise the 5th amendment rather than talk to law enforcement.
The video itself is long (about 48 minutes) and the first guy talks fast, so it's a lot to process (best to have this video open in a new window while you do other things, like I usually do). Regardless, he gives good advice on dealing with police, all of which is verified by an actual officer in the second half. Link, opens the video in a new window.
- if questioned by police, or brought in for questioning, be polite, but say you're going to exercise your fifth amendment rights; talk only to a lawyer.
- if anyone remembers the part in The Grapes of Wrath where Tom and the family are with Floyd in Hooverville, Floyd gives Tom advice on dealing with deputies: act "bull-simple" (i.e., stupid). It was true back then, and it's true now.
- the whole idea is to avoid self-incrimination, hence:
- the one thing I wish the video had addressed would be getting pulled over (since, I imagine, this is much more common than being hauled into the station for questioning). One of my buddies, when he was pulled over and asked if he knew how fast he was going, answered by saying he was going at a safe and reasonable speed, and repeated it whenever he was questioned. Again, note his avoidance of self-incrimination (and bull-simple attitude, I imagine). Honestly though, I don't know what the exact protocol is for being pulled over and I really wish I knew.
- you can be put in handcuffs without actually being arrested or charged for anything. Beware of scare tactics.
The majority of us probably won't have to deal with law enforcement, but in the rare instance where we will have to, this is a pretty good primer on what to do. Stay legal, stay safe, and don't inadvertently turn yourself in.