The Rights Stuff

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When the civil libertarian activist Steven Silverman founded Flex Your Rights in 2002, his goal was to spread awareness of how basic Bill of Rights protections apply during encounters with law enforcement officials. "Generally," he advises, "the less you say, the less likely you'll be to incriminate yourself." But for those times when you must speak up, Silverman urges everyone to "memorize and practice these three key lines":

1. "Officer, I don't consent to  searches." In order to search your car, police must have probable cause to believe a crime is at hand. Absent probable cause, though, your consent will legally suffice. Refusing to give an officer permission won't always prevent a search, but if you steadfastly refuse to consent you'll be in a far better position to fight any charges in court if alleged contraband is found.

2. "Officer, are you detaining me, or am I free to go?" This line may help withdraw you from an unwelcome encounter. Stating your desire to leave establishes that the encounter is not voluntary.

3. "Officer, I have nothing to say. I'd like to speak with a lawyer." If you're being detained or arrested, assert your Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Then shut up until you get a lawyer. Anything you say can—and probably will—be used against you later in court. 

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  1. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke.

  2. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…inreplica omega order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke.

  3. ent probable cause, though, your consent will legally suffice. Refusing to give an offi

  4. Bill of Rights protections apply during encounters with law enforcement officials.

  5. le cause, though, your consent will legally suffice. Refusing to give an officer permis

  6. vises, “the less you say, the less likely you’ll be to incriminate yourself.” But for those times when you must speak up, Silverman urges everyone to “memorize and practice these th

  7. Flex Your Rights in 2002, his goal was to spread awareness of how basic Bill of Rights protections

  8. ghts protections apply during encounters with law enforcement officials. “Generally,” he advises, “the less you say, the less likely you’ll be to incriminate yourself.” But for those t

  9. the less you say, the less likely you’ll be to incriminate yourself.” But for those times when

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