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  1. #1

    Default What Should You Do if the Police Stop You on the Street

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Pennsylvania, West Virginia.

    I have a few questions pertaining to being questioned and/or detained by police .

    Now I'm a law abiding man , however I do have a habit that may cause certain police officers to question and even possibly detain me . To be more specific , I enjoy smoking cigarettes in secluded public places at night while wearing a biker type leather jacket . I've never been questioned or detained for doing this so far , but I've heard of people who have which is why I started up this thread .

    So what is advisable in the case of being stopped/questioned/detained by police in a case like this ? Should one talk to police officers or should one exercise their right to silence ? If so then how should one go about exercising their right to silence ? Should one pose the question of " Am I being detained sir ? " or is there another line one should say ?

    I imagine most cops aren't out to get people jammed up when questioning them for unorthodox yet perfectly legal behavior like this , however I have heard of some so called bad apples who might come down hard on unorthodox types they have a grudge against , which is why I'd like to get a bit of advice concerning this issue .

    Anyways any advice is much appreciated and thanks in advance .

    P.S. I live in Pennsylvania , however I work and spend a lot of time in WV which is why I included both states .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: What Should You Do if the Police Stop You on the Street

    Here's an idea.

    Stop doing the things you think might look suspicious to the cops. THAT's the cop-baiting, not asking the question.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    18,340

    Default Re: What Should You Do if the Police Stop You on the Street

    A cop has the right to ask you who you are and what you are doing here at this moment. Anything else you are free to invoke your right to an attorney and stop talking. Anything you say otherwise is cop-baiting.

    Would you prefer this:

    What's your name?
    Lionel Fauquier
    What are you doing here?
    I'm on my way home from a late movie.
    Ok, thanks. Have a nice night.

    Or this:

    What's your name?
    Am I being detained?
    Yes, smartass, you appear to be loitering, loitering is a crime, assume the position. Frisk, frisk, frisk. Wallet appears in cop's hand.
    Now, what is your name and what are you doing here?
    Lionel Fauquier and I'm on my way home from a late move.
    Sit in the car while I check for wants and warrants.
    10 minutes later:
    OK, you're free to go.


    Cop did nothing wrong, though I am sure you will go online and rant about your rights.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: What Should You Do if the Police Stop You on the Street

    The easiest way to deal with a police contact if you are not doing anything wrong is to be polite, honest, and cooperative. Obstinance tends to result in prolonged detentions and even cites and arrests if they can be made.

    Civility works.

  5. #5

    Default Re: What Should You Do if the Police Stop You on the Street

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    You're asking this on more than one website.

    A cop has the right to ask you who you are and what you are doing here at this moment. Anything else you are free to invoke your right to an attorney and stop talking. Anything you say otherwise is cop-baiting.

    Would you prefer this:

    What's your name?
    Lionel Fauquier
    What are you doing here?
    I'm on my way home from a late movie.
    Ok, thanks. Have a nice night.

    Or this:

    What's your name?
    Am I being detained?
    Yes, smartass, you appear to be loitering, loitering is a crime, assume the position. Frisk, frisk, frisk. Wallet appears in cop's hand.
    Now, what is your name and what are you doing here?
    Lionel Fauquier and I'm on my way home from a late move.
    Sit in the car while I check for wants and warrants.
    10 minutes later:
    OK, you're free to go.


    Cop did nothing wrong, though I am sure you will go online and rant about your rights.
    Ok thanks man . The bulk of this post was rather informative and I mean that most sincerely .

    Now I don't want to offend you/tell you how to post/whatever , but this exchange could have proceeded in a much more civil fashion if you would have simply stuck to replying with the informative part of your post . Again no offense man , just some food for thought .

    Thanks again ,

    Lionel Fauquier

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