Hollywood has long tainted the minds of individuals and created would-be “law-experts” out of movie goers, but do not believe the hype. Hollywood gets it wrong most of the time.
Here are some common myths that should be dispelled before they lead to supposed “law-experts” fudging up any of the progress which the freedom movement has made.
Don’t police have to read me my rights?
Many people believe that they can “beat the case” if the officer doesn’t read them their Miranda rights during an arrest. This is a myth.
The only time an officer must read a person his or her Miranda rights is when: (1) the person has been placed under arrest, AND (2) the officer is about to question the person about a crime. For example, if you’re placed under arrest after consenting to a search request and confessing to ownership of found contraband, police do not need to read you your rights unless they want to question you about an unrelated crime.
The courts have made clear that police do not have to tell you about your right to refuse searches. Also, despite the myth to the contrary, an officer does not need to get your consent in writing; oral consent is completely valid.
If you’re arrested, don’t rely on police to inform you of your right to remain silent and see a lawyer. Use the magic words ”I’m going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer.” If police persist in questioning you, repeat the magic words. The magic words are like a legal condom. They’re your best protection if you’re under arrest.
Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. So don’t try to talk yourself out of the situation, and don’t make small talk with police either.
Didn’t NDAA, PATRIOT Act & The War on Terror Kill the Bill of Rights?
That’s largely a myth. There are many reasons to be concerned about the constitutional impact of the NDAA, PATRIOT Act, and the War on Terror in general. But as far as the powers of your local sheriff or state highway patrol are concerned, they have had zero impact.
That being said, be mindful that some police officers may use the threat of terrorism to trick citizen’s into believing they have enhanced search and interrogation powers. For example, police may justify a routine traffic search request by claiming “I’m just searching for guns and explosives”. This is simply a cynical way to trick citizens into compliance.
Don’t fall for it. You have the right to refuse search requests by asking ”Officer, am I free to go.” Repeat if necessary.
Undercover Cops Have To Identify Themselves If Asked
It has long been accepted lore that a working girl could render herself arrestproof by asking a prospective john if he were a policeman before anyone’s clothes came off. This belief rested in the notion that if the proposed man was a cop, he was not being truthful and the arrest could be thrown out on grounds of entrapment.
Police do NOT have to reveal their status, even when asked flat out. There’s nothing in the law to prohibit police from lying in the course of performing their duties. Were this not so, there would be no sting operations that involve telling wanted people they’d just won trips to Bermuda to get them to come in, or undercover operations where cops pretend to be suppliers to drug buyers.
Everyone Gets One Free Phone Call
The “one phone call” rule is purely a Hollywood invention. Now that goes both ways; some jails have pay phones and you can call whoever you want as long as the person on the other end is willing to pay for it, but they don’t have to let you use the phone at all.
Before you can flex your rights, you have to know them!