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Here is a pdf file you should print out and carry in your car with you. It includes four important statements you can convey to police without speaking.
The four statements are:
I Am Remaining Silent
This comes from your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, recognized in the famous Miranda decision from the US Supreme Court. Note that Miranda was badly eroded by Berghuis v. Thompkins, requiring that you affirmatively invoke the right to remain silent. While that sounds like a Catch-22, showing the police a printed version of the statement allows you to affirmatively invoke the right while remaining silent.
Am I Free To Leave?
This is a popular question we hear people asking police and other government agents. If the answer is yes, then you should leave. But of course, if you are intoxicated you should not drive away. Walk away and call for help. If you drive away that may give the police the evidence they need to arrest you – they may not have been able to prove you were driving. If you are not free to leave, that tells you that the officer is detaining you and you should understand at that point they are trying to put you in jail and you should not help them do so.
I Refuse Search Requests
This comes from your Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Many people consent to searches. Some police lie and claim that the search was by consent. Pointing to this document shows clearly that you do not consent to any searches. They will still be able to search if they get a warrant, but then again they may not get a warrant. Even if you have nothing to hide, you should not consent to searches. There’s always the risk that someone else left something in your car without telling you, and also the risk that the police will plant evidence. There are bad cops out there. Don’t help them put you in jail.
I Want A Lawyer
This comes from your Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Once you assert you want a lawyer, the police should not ask you any further questions. They may disregard that, but you should remain firm. Don’t help them put you in jail.
Here’s a jpeg of it for those who find that easier.
FairDUI was founded by New York DWI and Florida DUI Lawyer Warren Redlich. We advocate for Fair DUI laws.
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Police often rely on a handheld device to test drivers’ breath at the scene of traffic stops. Politicians, prosecutors, judges, and often defense lawyers and juries, incorrectly think these devices are reliable. That is not necessarily the case. Read more about it in the San Francisco Chronicle.
There’s an interesting dispute brewing between MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and the American Beverage Institute (ABI), and some minor media are jumping in.
The story starts with MADD getting a poor rating as a charity for its efficiency – that it spends a relatively low percentage of its money on programs. So then comes an ABI press release that MADD gets a D. Then we get an article in Slate on ABI and MADD, which criticizes ABI for bias.
You’d think we’d be done there, but then Paul Mulshine of the New Jersey Star Ledger jumped in. Mulshine criticizes Slate for assuming MADD is genuine and points out evidence that MADD manipulates DUI statistics.
Both the Slate and the Star Ledger articles have a number of comments. But in all, the discussion diverges from the key point: MADD did get a poor rating from an apparently neutral group that rates charities.
In the US, DUI/DWI laws are getting increasingly harsh. While we agree that drunk driving is a problem, we are concerned that the current approach is ineffective and unfair. There is a better way.
Stay tuned and find out more. Read our Fair DUI Issues page too.