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How to deal with the PO-lice

  1. Nov 8, 2015 #1
    I "cut the cord" last summer, got rid of satellite TV that was hemorrhaging my entertainment budget at about $150 a month. I even offered to give them back their satellite dish, which they didn't want back because their strategy is to leave their garbage behind as free advertising.

    Anyway, I digress..By cutting the cord, now I basically have 3 options for television viewing, one is my 9 dollar a month Netflix subscription which I can handle, the second is you-tube, which I watch more often than anything else, and the third is ordinary "antenna" TV, the free stuff you can get over the airwaves. (btw, the first two I cast through the Chromecast DONGLE!)

    So I was watching my free antenna TV the other day, it was the "Justice network" on channel 5 in Seattle. The series was called "Bait car," which smells of contraption o_O, but I think contraption is legal these days in the USA, although I'm not an attorney.

    In any case, the idea is that (from what I gather), the cops leave these sardine cars out in bad parts of the neighborhood with the motor running and the keys in the ignition, and let the party begin.

    The point here, though, is that, at the end of the segment, the perps (perpetrators) are always caught, and on the last episode I watched, the cops are all huffy and buffy, and one of them asked a perp, "Have you ever been arrested before?" And I started to ask myself, why is it that they always seem to ask this question? I was arrested once back in the 90's, and this is the first thing the "officer" asked me. So I thought I'd do some investigating into to why they ask this question..

    Edit: I meant to say "entrapment," not contraption. Sorry, it's Saturday night o0)
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
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  3. Nov 8, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Here are some possible reasons why:


    All seem pretty valid, especially if you lied about and it comes up then they have some further knowledge on how to handle the stop.

    If they ask, you say no and you don't then they can decide whether to give a ticket. If you say yes and why then they will still check but they have a better grasp. If you say no and you do, you'll probably be a little edgy and they will see that and be more on the alert.
  4. Nov 8, 2015 #3


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    I got nabbed at a speed trap (long exit ramp off a highway, I didn't stand the car on the bumper to slow).

    Cop asked me if I had any prior moving violations or points. I said no I don't believe so.
    He came back and said I did, from a year or two ago - should have been honest. Gave me a ticket and said this is what happens when you're not honest.
    I said 'wait, so I'm being punished because I didn't confess to something I don't recall?'

    Man, I'm still burned about that one.
  5. Nov 8, 2015 #4


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    If you're old like me, memory comes into play. Maybe you've got a case of "old person" discrimination?
  6. Nov 8, 2015 #5


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    Saying 'I don't remember' is more polite than 'none of your business'
    I don't believe I am under any obligation to incriminate myself.
  7. Nov 8, 2015 #6
    Yeah, that's exactly the kind of point I was trying to make. Once I got the hook in me about that question, I visited about 100 websites trying to quelch my curiosity on the subject because I'm majorly OCD.

    Not to bore you with the list, here's the best link I found:


    To further distill the discussion in te thread, this is the conclusion I came to:

    1) If you didn't commit a crime and the police want to ask you some questions that might help them to apprehend the "perp," then tell them what you know. Why, because they might take a criminal off the street that could target you (my arguments are all selfish Machiavellian ones:biggrin:).

    2) If you did perhaps commit a crime (perhaps maybe half unintentionally :rolleyes:), and the cops question you, then you have to be careful. What do you do?

    2a) If they ask you if you've ever been arrested, what you say is, "I'm sorry, officer, but I do not want to answer that question." I know, sounds a little non-sequitur and pathetic, but I've done some thinking on it and that's the best option, IMO.

    2b) At this point, you need to ask the officer this question: "I really need to get somewhere, Am I free to go? They are either going to say yes or no. The cops want to stall and get as much information as they can, which is understandable, but your goal is to get the F%$^ out of Dodge.

    2c) If they say "no" you're not free to go, then you ask them, "Am I being detained or am I free to go?"

    2d) If they say you're being detained then you tell them that you are not going to answer any questions until you have your attorney present. That's it. Don't say anything else.

    This is the best way to protect yourself in the USA justice system. The temptation is to try to talk your way out of something because you're presented with the illusion of authority. But that's all it is and that's why it is presented this way with uniforms and "shields." But if you actually are guilty of something and the police are questioning you, you're digging your own grave by opening your mouth to say anything. In fact, you may even wrongly convict yourself even if you've done nothing and get too mouthy with the police. Why? Because it's easier for the cops to close a case by looking for their keys close to the lamp-post, if you get my drift.

    2e) Oh, and never never ever give them the permission to search your car or search anything. Tell them "Sorry, officer, I do not consent to the search of any of my personal property."

    Note the politeness in the statements. You want to be polite, but FIRM. They respect this. If you're a pain in the ass, they can find many justifications to detain you for an extended period of time and mess with you. That's not what you want.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  8. Nov 8, 2015 #7


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    I have often wondered if it is required to be polite. I know it can work against you, but there are times when I don't want to bend to intimidation. Is it an offense to be brusque with an officer who is manipulating you?
  9. Nov 8, 2015 #8
    Well, you're not required to do anything. It's just how smoothly do you want this to go. My post #6 was an attempt to find the best way to get out of a bad situation fast and with minimal hassles. Another thing I found in my searches is that one of the principal reasons you want to be polite and respectful deals with the psychology of why someone wants to be a cop. Ostensibly these people want to "do good" and serve their community, and I'm sure that this is true for most cops for the the most part. But one of the main explicitly unsaid reasons someone wants to be a cop is a control and respect complex. In my mind, this is the principal reason why someone wants to be a cop and wear a "shield." So give them what they want and get out.

    Of course, if the cop starts becoming abusive, even verbally, and crosses the line, then you may want to change gears. I would recommend pulling out your smartphone and start filming the whole episode. While you're doing it, say something like, "I'm trying to be cooperative officer but I feel uncomfortable with this situation and therefore have decided to film it." That will change his or her demeanor real fast. There's a number of you-tube videos you can find where, truck drivers especially, have been pulled over and, after having been harassed by a cop, announces to the cop that they are being filmed by the dash cam, and the whole atmosphere of the conversation changes.

    So that's what I would do, be polite and try to get out quietly as fast as possible. If the guy's gonna be an ass, then I'd pull a 180 on him. Let him know he's being an ass and that you know your rights, and tell him to smile because what you are filming is going to be shown to the judge.

  10. Nov 9, 2015 #9
    Of course, if all else fails, you can always try hypnotizing the cop to get out of the ticket. This can be pretty effective also, but the success rate is only about 20%

  11. Nov 11, 2015 #10
    Being arrested doesn't mean you've been convicted of a crime. If you've been convicted of a crime they can search their computer and find out easily, so the question "Have you ever been arrested?" is none of their damn business, and is only used as a means of intimidation or to try and trick you into a line of questioning that may cause you to incriminate yourself or give them some kind of probable cause to search your car.

    Definitely not, as long as you're cooperative within what is expected of you by law. Of course, being overly belligerent could give them cause to cite you for disorderly conduct or something like that, and the law is pretty much always on their side, so it's not a smart move to be too aggressive.
  12. Nov 11, 2015 #11


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    No, not aggressive. Just sometimes I wish I could show them that I'm not intimidated by their posturing.

    I have to quell the instinctive urge to apologize (a Canadian thing) - as if the traffic offense I committed was a transgression against him personally.
  13. Nov 11, 2015 #12
    Cops aren't well versed in law, they just do what they are told and let the judges decide what's actually against the law and what isn't.

    Leaving a bait car would not be entrapment. In order for it to be entrapment, the police officer has to push you to do something illegal. If the cop left the car running, then had a plain clothes go up to someone and push them into stealing it, then it'd be entrapment. Simply giving someone the opportunity to do something illegal is not the same thing. It's immoral, it's aimed at minorities, and it's sneaky, but not illegal. A policeman leaving a joint near you and watching if you smoke it is not a crime, a policeman offering it to you is.

    You do not have to tell the police officer about previous arrests, you have the right to remain silent. If you can prove that you got a ticket because you lied to him where you wouldn't have otherwise, a judge will have to throw it out.
  14. Nov 11, 2015 #13
    In the cops eyes you lied to him. If you pleaded the 5th then you avoid "lying" to the cop, but the cop could take this as a challenge.
  15. Nov 11, 2015 #14


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    Is saying 'I don't think so' when I don't think so, a lie?
    Is it an offense for being wrong?
    Am I responsible for knowing exactly what state my previous offenses are in?
    Is it an offense to lie to a cop?
    Is it an offense to challenge a cop?
  16. Nov 12, 2015 #15


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    They don't ask those types of questions to gain information, its the “attitude check”. Don't make yourself to be the bad guy.
    The magic words to that question are. ”Would you consider giving me a warning?”
  17. Nov 12, 2015 #16


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    In the US, Don't Talk to the Police

  18. Nov 12, 2015 #17


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    Yes, yes. But as I said, there are times when I don't wish to be intimidated.
  19. Nov 12, 2015 #18


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    You must look at it from the officers point of view. 99.99% of the time that "attitude check” is not personal, it's an interrogation method used by people trained to do a quick assessment of some stranger on a dark road. Being intimidated here is a reptile brain response to a game that's being played. If you play the (traffic ticket) game from a position of knowledge your body language cues will not usually lead to the intimidation phase of the training.
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