Learn Your Rights

I have an article in USA Today about some recent cases where people were arrested for invoking their constitutional rights.  Here’s an excerpt:

Just because law enforcement have us at a serious disadvantage does not mean we should let them walk all over us. The wise course to take during police encounters is to obey commands, but to also politely and calmly decline requests. Here’s the key point: Law enforcement are trained to blur that distinction. For example, they may knock on your door and say, “Let’s talk.” In such cases, individuals have to seek the clarification by asking, “Are you ordering me to open my door and allow a search?”

If it isn’t an order, the choice is ours to make. If you give the police permission to search your home without a warrant, that’s your prerogative. If you decline to give your permission, that’s your prerogative also.

There is not enough space to say everything that needs to be said.  For example, the article’s focus is on police stops in public–traffic stops or on a city sidewalk.  Different rules apply for airport searches, or if you are seeking entrance to a government building.  For those anxious to learn more, follow the links on the homepage here: Lawyer Up and Know Your Rights.