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  1. Librarian says

    “I don’t answer questions,” in response to a run-of-the-mill stop?

    • Meh. What’s wrong with politely greeting the officer, asking him why he pulled you over, handing over the license & registration when asked, and simply refraining from making any statements? What does copping an attitude get you that simply keeping your mouth shut wouldn’t have gotten you?

      • While in theory true, in practice, how do you NOT answer questions directed to you by a cop? Isn’t silence going to set off the cop’s suspicions?

        • I would suppose that the way to not answer a question, and yet not remain silent, would be to repeat a statement of fact which admits of nothing yet remains a reasonable answer to the question, such as “I don’t answer questions,” or “I plead the fifth.” Additionally, throwing off their rhythm by asking a completely unrelated question in response may also be useful, such as “where can I find the nearest bathroom?” or “can you help me find my way back to [such and such a place]?”

        • “I assert my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent on that matter. Here are my driver’s license and proof of insurance.”

      • I was actually referring to a “stop” on the street/walk, as depicted in the above comic panel directly adjacent to the “run-of-the-mill stop” statement therein, when I made my comment, not traffic stops. And I wasn’t intending to insinuate running an attitude at the cop either, rather stating matter-of-fact-ly, “I don’t answer questions,” and continuing on your way, as a method to avoid any manner of potential legal tangles that engaging with a cop could otherwise produce.

        If you are asking me what I hope to accomplish by tending towards “copping an attitude,” as you put it, with Law Enforcement Officers, I would be happy to discuss such matters with you via E-mail, if that is your wish.

      • Ok, let’s try this:
        “Hi officer! What brings you out today?”
        “Do you know how fast you were going?”
        “Do you always answer a question with a question?”

        • That would certainly throw the cop off his rhythm. But if this is a walking stop as I was talking about, as opposed to a traffic stop, the cop would never ask you that question in the first place (do you know how fast you were going?).

      • A constant theme in this chapter is how easy it is to accidentally waive your rights or consent to something. Why would anyone want to take that risk?

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