Sunday, March 18, 2007

How Not to Act When Getting Pulled Over:

I tell my community college students (some of whom sometimes have problems with the cops), the smartest thing you can do when you are pulled over by the police is act as polite and cooperative as you can imagine. Drop the attitude. Call him "sir" (or "maam") and "officer" and act as benign as possible (although, be smart; you do have the constitutional right to remain silent and you don't have to spill your guts; you can keep your mouth shut). Doesn't mean the police are always right; often they are wrong and deserved to be vigorously challenged. But there is a time and place for everything. And the time to fight with the cops is in court, not when they are pulling you over. Being polite and cooperative -- as opposed to having the attitude -- often will get you out of a ticket and is worth it just for that. Even if you get the ticket, at the very least you won't get punched, billy-clubbed, tasered, or worse.

The woman was under the apparently mistaken assumption that cops aren't allowed to radar people when they are driving and thought, since the cop is in the wrong, I don't have to cooperate. There are a number of urban myths about policing -- the most famous one I've heard is that undercover cops must let you know they are undercover if you asked them. Even if these were the case, you bring that up in court and see what the judge/ the law has to say.

1 comment:

24crayons said...

Good advice! Especially for the young.