We’ve previously documented that there are so many federal and state laws in the United States, that no one can keep track of them all, and everyone violates laws every day without even knowing it.
As such, it is best to avoid law enforcement when possible.
It’s vital to note, however, that the Supreme Court ruled this year that your silence CAN be used against you (the link is to the website of one of America’s top constitutional law professors) … at least until you’re read your Miranda rights. Therefore, if you remain silent when police are questioning you, it is very important to tell the police that you are exercising your right to remain silent. As the Atlantic notes:
Basically, if you’re ever in any trouble with police… and want to keep your mouth shut, you will need to announce that you’re invoking your Fifth Amendment right instead of, you know, just keeping your mouth shut. “Petitioner’s Fifth Amendment claim fails because he did not expressly invoke the privilege against self-incrimination in response to the officer’s question,” reads the [Supreme Court] opinion ….
It’s Not Andy Griffith’s America Any More
This is not to say that all law enforcement personnel are bad folks. Many of them are outstanding people.
People have been severely harassed when they’ve asked for help from law enforcement. For example, an anti-war website was spied on for 6 years after they asked for help by the FBI. And the FBI rifled through all of a woman’s electronic communications after she told the FBI that she was being harassed.
Police have recently tasered numerous deaf or retarded people for “failing to follow orders”.
Again, we’re not trying to paint with a broad brush; most law enforcement personnel are good folks just trying to do their job. And police are human, too … sometimes they get scared and overreact.
But it’s not the same ole Andy Griffith show type demeanor among law enforcement today. So it’s best to be careful.