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Careful driving toward and away from Vedauwoo/ BS traffic stops
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By TBlom
Aug 5, 2014
We just complied and acted friendly. Our driver's license was in her backpack in the back, so the cops got a free peek and sniff into the truck topper. They asked us where we had been, and if we had been climbing or hiking. I really don't see any reason to get their hackles up by not answering benign questions. If you have to, play hard ball, but otherwise 'acting' like you appreciate the job they are doing seems to work well. Our driver was sober, and pretty, which definitely helped.

I contemplated writing a complaint to the Albany County Sheriff's department, but I fear that it would be like picking a fight with the fattest meanest kid on the playground. We were lucky to get to drive back into Colorado without any more than some harassment. I am happy this thread has seem some views, gotta keep people safe on their travels! The war on drugs and the American people is alive and well along our borders.

TB

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By george wilkey
From travelers rest sc
Aug 5, 2014
me
this kinda stuff happens everywhere. if the po po wants to pull you over they can find a reason. I got pulled over in Georgia shortly after leaving sand rock Alabama, supposedly for changing lanes without a signal but after checking me out the cop admitted it was because of my out of state tags and climbing stickers on the back window. he said they had had problems with out of staters trafficking drugs in their little mayberry town.

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By javd
From East Brookfield MA
Aug 5, 2014
Don't break the law and you won't have anything to worry about.

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By george wilkey
From travelers rest sc
Aug 5, 2014
me
^not at all true. there are many laws designed to be interpreted by the police, such as, "driving to fast for conditions". this allows them to legally harass anyone at any time.

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By Gunks Jesse
From Shawangunk Township, NY
Aug 5, 2014
Tetonia
Go ahead, answer their normal questions:
"Do you know why I pulled you over?"
"The only thing that comes to mind is that you are lost and need directions."

"Where are you heading today?"
"Wouldn't you like to know. It's a new coffee shop in Colorado."

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Aug 5, 2014
Stoked...
All this harrasement seems really foriegn to myself growing up in New England. Maybe I'm just super lucky but I've never been randomly pulled over or harassed by cops here, whether it's 3am or 11pm. I drive a subaru w/ box, have ski stickers (no phish/GD/band), etc. And we drive 10mph over the speed limit as a rule too but I guess i don't fit the profile.

Last time I had a face to face with po po was when I ran out of gas and the state trooper offered to push my car with his to the gas station up the hill and down the road off his bumper.

But then again I don't go down south as any good yank will tell ya...

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By Gunks Jesse
From Shawangunk Township, NY
Aug 5, 2014
Tetonia
^^^^^ exactly my same experience with law enforcement.

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By mountainhick
From Black Hawk, CO
Aug 5, 2014
Gunks Jesse wrote:
"Do you know why I pulled you over?"


Always answer "no". They are trying to get you to admit guilt before charging a darn thing.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Aug 5, 2014
Stoked...
mountainhick wrote:
Always answer "no".


Exactly correct. A good lawyer back here in CT told me ALWAYS say no, NEVER admit any speeding or give any speed other then the speed limit (regardless of what you were traveling). If you provide a speed you were traveling to a cop that's evidence they can use against you later.

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By Dylan B.
Aug 5, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Morgan Patterson wrote:
All this harrasement seems really foriegn to myself growing up in New England. Maybe I'm just super lucky but I've never been randomly pulled over or harassed by cops here, whether it's 3am or 11pm. I drive a subaru w/ box, have ski stickers (no phish/GD/band), etc. Last time I had a face to face with po po was when I ran out of gas and the state trooper offered to push my car with his to the gas station up the hill and down the road off his bumper. But then again I don't go down south as any good yank will tell ya... And we drive 10mph over the speed limit as a rule too but I guess i don't fit the profile.


It's my understanding that the Vermont Constitution has stricter limits on searches and seizures than the United States Constitution. Whether that applies to the initial probable cause/reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop, I don't know.

The bottom line is that for 99% of white people who are stopped by police who are "not doing anything wrong"--i.e. sober, do not have contraband in their possession, and do not have a warrant for their arrest--the best policy in the short term is to be polite and cooperate with reasonable requests for information. It's a rare occurrence that police will fabricate a serious charge, or that a clerical error will cause significant hardship.

It's totally different if you're black. Serious charges against black people are fabricated all the time. But of course, being obstreperous and not cooperating isn't going to help.

As a society, we would all be better off if we complied only as much as is required by law. That varies subtly by jurisdiction, but typically it involves identifying yourself, and allowing the officer to conduct such investigation as is necessary to confirm or dispel the suspicion that cause the initial traffic stop. As individuals, this is guaranteed to cause us more trouble at any given traffic stop. But as a society, forcing police to comply with strict Fourth Amendment limitations is an important check on police power.

The problem is that the citizen does not have the right to demand an explanation of the original suspicion that cause the traffic stop, so we don't know what the proper scope of the investigation should be. Courts have accepted some pretty thin justifications to initiate a traffic stop. Since we don't know what the actual investigation entails, it's hard to limit the scope of the officer's investigation to only that which is appropriate.

Personally, while I understand the reason the courts have fashioned the exclusionary rule for evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, I would be willing to forego that protection in favor of more readily obtained civil liability for police and departments that do violate the limits on reasonable searches and seizures. I think that the stick should be heavier, so that police are more circumspect in their dealings with citizens.

I also think that in this day and age of digital recording, there's no reason that police interactions with citizens should ever go unrecorded. Some departments are ahead of others in this. My local department has installed technology into cruisers that begin video recording 30 seconds before the flashers are turned on. It also video records the back seat of the cruiser. Officers should have audio recordings running whenever they speak with citizens. The State of Minnesota has required officers to video record all in-custody interrogations. Wisconsin has required recording all interrogations of juveniles. We need to keep expanding these requirements. While there will always be practical exceptions, more and more surveillance of the police (not by the police, butof the police, should be our expectation.

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By Dylan B.
Aug 5, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Morgan Patterson wrote:
Exactly correct. A good lawyer back here in CT told me ALWAYS say no, NEVER admit any speeding or give any speed other then the speed limit (regardless of what you were traveling). If you provide a speed you were traveling to a cop that's evidence they can use against you later.


Don't lie. If you were speeding, don't say that you were not. If it could be proved that your lie was intentional, it could be the crime of obstructing an officer. Which is preferable? A speeding ticket or a class A misdemeanor?

It's fine to refuse to give information. It is a crime to intentionally give false information.

You're right that the inquiry, "do you know why I pulled you over" is an investigation, and that your answer could be a confession, admissible at trial as a party-opponent admission despite being hearsay.

Strictly speaking, answering "no, I don't know why you pulled me over" is not false, because the officer's reasons are opaque to you. You may have some pretty informed guesses, but you just don't know.

But if the question is "do you know how fast you were going," you're in a bit of a bind. Most states have statues that require you to be aware of your speed. Inattentive driving, or failure to monitor speed, or some such can result in a ticket. So telling the officer you don't know how fast you were going is a confession to a violation.

If you really want to dodge getting a ticket, and you know you were doing something wrong, your best bet is to remain silent and only comply with orders not requests. Confirm, "is this an order or am I free to go?" Don't demand information, just keep asking if you're free to go. It'll piss off the cop and he'll give you the ticket, and possibly hassle you, but you won't be providing evidence that can be used at trial.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Aug 5, 2014
Stoked...
D.Buffum wrote:
Don't lie. If you were speeding, don't say that you were not. If it could be proved that your lie was intentional, it could be the crime of obstructing an officer.


Talk to a good lawyer bro...

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Aug 5, 2014
Stoked...
D.Buffum wrote:
I am a lawyer. Hopefully a good one.


Obviously not that kind of good... and ya I'm not talking about good natured.

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By Dylan B.
Aug 5, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Morgan Patterson wrote:
Talk to a good lawyer bro...


In my jurisdiction, it's a crime to provide false information to a police officer. It would be a defense to that crime if the officer's investigation was unlawful, but generally the citizen is not in a position to evaluate the lawfulness of the investigation at the time of the stop. Providing false information is a poor choice under 99% of the circumstances.

But refusing to provide information outside the lawful scope of the search, is lawful. The lawful scope of the search is based on the reasons the officer stopped you to begin with. Officers can detain you long enough to confirm your identity and to confirm or dispel the suspicion that gave rise to the stop:

“[F]or a Terry stop to pass constitutional muster [t]he
detention must be temporary and last no longer than is
necessary to effect the purpose of the stop.” State v. Gruen,
218 Wis.2d 581, 590, 582 N.W.2d 728, (Wis. App. 1998).
“Similarly, the investigative methods employed should be the
least intrusive means reasonably available to verify or dispel the
officer's suspicion in a short period of time.” Id. (internal
citations and quotations omitted). “In assessing a detention for
purposes of determining whether it was too long in duration, a
court must consider whether the police diligently pursued a
means of investigation that was likely to confirm or dispel their
suspicions quickly, during which time it is necessary to detain
the suspect.” Id. (internal citations and quotations omitted).

This is Wisconsin caselaw, but based on Terry v. Ohio, the US case that creates the framework for Fourth Amendment analysis.

By refusing to provide any information except that which an officer is authorized to order, as is appropriate to the scope of the investigation, you maximize your chances at trial by excluding any evidence outside the lawful scope of the search.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Aug 5, 2014
Stoked...
You seem like a good-natured lawyer, not a good lawyer. All sound advice above and nothing to argue academically speaking but.....

Unfortunately, good lawyers are sleaze bags. They get your name out of local papers by paying the right person, they tell you exactly what to say so they can make the best possible defense and get your shit thrown out regardless of whether or not it's a lie. Sorry... different worlds I guess. I have never told a police officer in my life a truthful speed I was going... period. And never once has anyone (officer or otherwise) ever suggested it's obstruction of an investigation, etc if I wan't 100% honest. That's for the courts to decide, you stand accused of speeding, but you are not guilty at the time of the questioning so there's no way they could go after at that point.

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By Dylan B.
Aug 5, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Morgan Patterson wrote:
You seem like a good-natured lawyer, not a good lawyer. All sound advice above and nothing to argue academically speaking but..... Unfortunately, good lawyers are sleaze bags. They get your name out of local papers by paying the right person, they tell you exactly what to say so they can make the best possible defense and get your shit thrown out regardless of whether or not it's a lie. Sorry... different worlds I guess. I have never told a police officer in my life a truthful speed I was going... period. And never once has anyone (officer or otherwise) ever suggested it's obstruction of an investigation, etc.


A prosecutor is going to have a hard time convincing a jury to convict someone for intentionally minimizing how much they were speeding. Few agencies or district attorneys in my experience are going to pursue such a charge alone. But it is illegal. Usually where you see these obstructing charges is tacked on to a complaint that includes other charges that arose from the stop. For example, if the stop eventually results in an OWI charge, but you told the officer you hadn't had anything to drink, they might tack on an obstructing charge for negotiating leverage.

A lawyer that advises people to break the law--i.e. provide false information to a police officer--is violating the legal code of ethics and can be disbarred and subject to civil liability for malpractice if the advice backfires. While providing false information to an officer can and sometimes will result in avoiding a ticket, it remains a crime in every jurisdiction I know of, and there are legal ways to minimize your chances of getting a ticket while avoiding possible criminal liability. No good lawyer will advice you to lie to police. Any good lawyer will advise you to keep your mouth shut. That's why we have the Fifth Amendment. Use it.


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By Jason Todd
From Ranchester, WY
Aug 5, 2014
Moss
When you need a criminal lawyer, get a criminal lawyer.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Aug 5, 2014
Stoked...
D.Buffum wrote:
A prosecutor is going to have a hard time convincing a jury to convict someone for intentionally minimizing how much they were speeding. Few agencies or district attorneys in my experience are going to pursue such a charge alone. But it is illegal. Usually where you see these obstructing charges is tacked on to a complaint that includes other charges that arose from the stop. For example, if the stop eventually results in an OWI charge, but you told the officer you hadn't had anything to drink, they might tack on an obstructing charge for negotiating leverage. A lawyer that advises people to break the law--i.e. provide false information to a police officer--is violating the legal code of ethics and can be disbarred and subject to civil liability for malpractice if the advice backfires. While providing false information to an officer can and sometimes will result in avoiding a ticket, it remains a crime in every jurisdiction I know of, and there are legal ways to minimize your chances of getting a ticket. No good lawyer will advice you to lie to police. Any good lawyer will advise you to keep your mouth shut.


I don't question the illegality of it but the reality is I will never get in trouble for stating I thought I was traveling the speed limit when I know I was speeding. They cannot prove what I was thinking and thus could never charge me with what you are stating hence the difference between a good natured lawyer (you) and a good (at gaming the system) lawyer. Either way, sounds like if you're driving through WY you should have some type of lawyer handy!

D. just out of curiosity, if I was arrested, would you be able to keep my name out of say the local CT papers and police blotter? If it involved you making a cash payment to someone?

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By Dylan B.
Aug 5, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Morgan Patterson wrote:
I don't question the illegality of it but the reality is I will never get in trouble for stating I thought I was traveling the speed limit when I know I was speeding. They cannot prove what I was thinking and thus could never charge me with what you are stating hence the difference between a good natured lawyer (you) and a good (at gaming the system) lawyer. Either way, sounds like if you're driving through WY you should have some type of lawyer handy! D. just out of curiosity, if I was arrested, would you be able to keep my name out of say the local CT paper and police blotter?


I do, by the way, see charges every day for obstructing an officer, with nothing more. Usually it's for giving a false name. More often than not, it's a black defendant (white people don't get charged as harshly). Usually it gets reduced to a ticket, rather than a misdemeanor, if the defendant has no priors. I've never seen it for lying about speed at a traffic stop, but that could happen if the lie was egregious enough. I have seen it for lying about whether they were drinking.

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By Dylan B.
Aug 5, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Morgan Patterson wrote:
D. just out of curiosity, if I was arrested, would you be able to keep my name out of say the local CT papers and police blotter? If it involved you making a cash payment to someone?


I don't know anything about Wyoming's arrest procedures and open records laws. In Wisconsin our open records laws would make it difficult to prevent this information from being public. It may be possible to keep the records from becoming public, but I haven't researched the issue because I've never dealt with it.

I would not, however, pay a bribe to a government official to violate the law. I'm not willing to commit a felony on behalf of my clients. If that makes me a "bad" lawyer by your definition, so be it. (And even if I would, would I admit it here, in a public forum, under my real name? That would just be stupid.)

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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Aug 5, 2014
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "...
Dylan B. wrote:
But if the question is "do you know how fast you were going," you're in a bit of a bind.


"Generally? About the speed limit, but at precisely what moment are you asking about?"

That generally covers all bases and switches the conversation from ask to tell and avoids many trappings.

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By David A
From Boulder, CO
Aug 5, 2014
Hanging out after climbing a route in Eldo on a co...
I have logged tons of miles in WY, UT, etc over the past few years in my stoner/climber dirtbag mobile (red Cherokee, rocket box, climbing stickers, the whole shebang), never been pulled over, knock on wood. Don't smoke in the car (duh), and keep your stash well hidden, it's as simple as that. Throw it under your spare tire in your trunk. Stuff it inside your sleeping bag and then in your stuff sack. Keep it deep in your rocket box. If you are really paranoid, put it in your gas cap, and on the off chance it's found by the 5-0, you have a solid case in favor for you (unlocked gas caps=public domain, could've been put there by anybody at the last place you stopped). Obviously that last one only works if your gas lid does not lock. None of these would stop the most a-holes of officers, but I feel like it's pretty easy to get away with, at least I have been able to do it (or maybe I've just been unusually lucky??). But seriously, just don't speed in the first place. WY just upped the interstate speeds to 80 mph, is that not fast enough for ya's?!

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By Dylan B.
Aug 5, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Tony B wrote:
"Generally? About the speed limit, but at precisely what moment are you asking about?" That generally covers all bases and switches the conversation from ask to tell and avoids many trappings.


Yep. Being non-specific can work.

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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Aug 5, 2014
Stoked...
Dylan B. wrote:
I would not, however, pay a bribe to a government official to violate the law. I'm not willing to commit a felony on behalf of my clients. If that makes me a "bad" lawyer by your definition, so be it. (And even if I would, would I admit it here, in a public forum, under my real name? That would just be stupid.)


Of course not... more along the lines of the newspapers. They can be paid around here in CT to keep important names out of the papers/blotters if you have the right attorney.

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By cieneguita
Aug 5, 2014


everyone should watch and learn this link.

There are a series of others specifically for teen and twentysomethings to watch as well.

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