Notice: I am not an attorney.
(You gotta pass a literacy test to even get into law school.)
I am not a non-attorney spokesperson.
(Not that I even know what the hell that’s supposed to mean when they say it on those commercials about suing drug companies and such..)
I have never played an attorney on TV.
(I couldn’t even stand that Matlock TV show,
…. and Andy Griffith is from around here.)
No attorneys were involved in the writing, production values, spell checks, legal consultations, or any other aspect of this here posting.
Not only that,
….. but I’d be perfectly happy if a extra-large size log-flume boat-full of lawyers were to sink into the murky depths of Lake Winnepauhsawk…
…… Lake Winapehseh….
………… Lake Winnie.
I don’t even own a suit and tie anymore.
As far as I’m concerned,
… briefs are only the kinda underwear ya wear when all yer boxer shorts are dirty.
None of the contents of this post constitute anything even resembling legal advice,
……. and you’d have to be more than half crazy to think it does.
No matter where you go in this great country,
there are a couple things….
sorta like “rules of the road”…….
……. that really don’t change much.
You never order spaghetti anywhere other than in an Italian Restaurant……
You never ask a strange woman with a big stomach when the baby is due…….
You never wear a bowling shirt and shorts to a wedding ……..
You never spit into the wind, or tug on superman’s cape…
…….. and you don’t never sass around with the man.
While the first three might end up causing you a simple case of diarrhea,
a hasty embarassing exit,
or some puss-eyed looks……..
The sass-the-police thing, well, that can lead to more serious , shall we say , consequences.
Of course, as you may have already learned in yer travels and trevails,
…. being nice to a cop ain’t necessarily gonna get you out of a jam……
It’s more like the difference to your perineum between a dry, chapped finger and a well lubed, manicured one.
Let’s say you’re toolin down the road in your lime green 1983 Plymouth Reliant with the burned out left taillight, hanging headliner, and the “Honk If You’re Horny” bumper sticker…..
( You say you don’t got a ” Honk If You’re Horny ” bumpersticker?
……….. hey– you don’t know what yer missin ! )
You glance in yer rearview mirror , and see the unwelcome sight of a ‘blue light special’ —
a brand new Crown Victoria with the word ” E C I L O P ” painted on the front —
—- which indicates that the local constabulary would like a word.
There are some serious mistakes you can make here, without really thinking about it, if you’re not careful.
If you truly want to come out of this encounter with the PoPo with a nice little warning and a short lecture on being more cautious in a school zone…..
……. instead of an expensive ticket, summons, or worse —-
( and who wouldn’t —
….. I hear they’re serving bologna for all three meals these days at the jail… )
You’ll take Yer Ole Uncle Nut’s not-constituting-legal-counsel advice on a coupla basic things.
‘Cause YOU know wuz speedin….
I know you wuz speedin….
and what’s more…..
the COP knows you were speedin….
and the JUDGE already knows it, too.
I mean, he ain’t pullin you over to get your phone number.
Unless you live in Union County, North Carolina….
…….. and then, only if you’re a cute hottie in Daisy Dukes.
Lets say you don’t and you ain’t.
Pull over completely off the right side of the road, if possible.
I flat out guarantee—
if you stop in the middle of the road, or onto the left shoulder,
you will be leaving with a ticket at the very least.
And the cop is wondering whether you’re smart enough to even BE driving.
Don’t get outta the car.
If he wants you out of the car, he’s got an intercom – he’ll tell ya.
In which case, he probably ain’t pulling you over for speeding, bud….
….. where did you say you got that Plymouth Reliant from, anyway?
Roll down your window.
Come on, what makes you think he’d pull you over and then want to
play twenty questions in sign language with you through the glass?
Don’t make any sudden or furtive moves.
If you suddenly reach down under the seat, he’s probably not gonna assume that you’re just putting your gum ( as opposed to GUN ) away for later use.
Have your license and registration ready.
Again, this might be counter-intuitive for some people,
but NO – he ain’t gonna just take your word fer it.
Greet the officer politely.
Here’s where a lotta folks get in trouble early on.
There are some things you can say as a greeting that are perfectly acceptable here,
….. and others– not so much.
Examples of recommended greetings:
“Good morning, Officer”
“Good evening, Officer”
Examples of not-recommended greetings:
“Just what in the hell do YOU want?”
“Don’t you have anything better to do?”
“I wasn’t just doing 80- your radar is defective”
“Hey, you’re cute for a Police Officer.. “
“Do you know who I am?”
“I’m not drunk, I swear.”
Or, any reference to donuts, his heritage or his mother.
Wait for it.
The next move is the officer’s…..
don’t ask him why he pulled you over-
you can bet he’s gonna tell ya soon enough.
If the Officer greets you with a question , keep your answer short and courteous.
” Good morning… how y’all doing today? ” — should not be answered with a 10 minute dissertation about how rotten your day is and how your great-aunt Harriet is having hemorrhoid surgery at this very moment and how you promised to be there, should she happen to wake up asking for ya.
A smile, a “fine, thank you, how are you?” while handing him your license and registration, will do quite nicely.
I mean, you can manage a smile, can’t ya- this doesn’t have to be the Spanish Inquisition, you know.
Once you get past the usual pleasantries, this is where the going gets a little slick.
If he just takes your license and registration, and goes to check it on his computer, you’re doing ok so far.
Let’s hope they haven’t updated the NCIC with that little incident from 1973 at El Bunny Rancho in Vegas….
( What ever happened to “What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” anyway ? )
If he starts asking you questions — you’d better pay attention.
Cause the cop ain’t just asking questions fer no reason —
—- he really does have other things he could be doing, after all.
He’s listening not only to your answers, but to HOW your answer, and your overall demeanor.
He’s looking at you– your body language, how nervous you are, whether you are a threat.
I mean, he don’t know you from one of the crazy lady down the block’s 40 or so house cats.
So, he’s got just a coupla moments to size you up — figure out just kinda animal you iz – or ain’t.
Don’t get him thinkin’ you’re anything else other than a nice feller with a loose gas pedal and a junky old car.
Cops don’t ask a lotta questions they don’t already think they know the answer to.
If the Officer asks you:
” Do you know how fast you were going? ” ,
this is just the kinda thing that is gonna tell him a lot about what kinda guy you are.
( That is, if you’re not careful… )
Again, he already knows how fast you wuz going- or he wouldn’t be asking ya.
So, your best response is going to be something as close to honest as you can manage without totally incriminating yourself ….
“I’m afraid I might have been a little over the speed limit” —
would be preferable to:
“I wuz trying to get this hunk of junk into triple digits to get around that damned school bus up ahead”
If he leads off with “Do you happen to know the speed limit here?”,
-(you should know the answer) –
….. expect the question above to immediately follow….
……. he’s just checking to see if you’re an idiot, first.
If he asks you ” have you had anything to drink today ?” — he’s not asking you for a beer.
Something about you or your driving has set off his drunk-o-meter.
You’d better figure out a sure way to sober up, and toot suite, buddy.
Cause there’s no winning answer to this question—- once it’s asked, you’re in trouble.
Every possible answer has a hidden meaning to a Police Officer.
Check out the following translation chart.
On the left is your possible answer.
On the right is the cop translation.
No == ask more questions
Yes, one beer == you’ve been drinking
Only a couple == you’ve been drinking for a while
Three beers == you’ve been drinking all day
You know how it is == you’ve been drinking with his wife
I’m not drunk == damn, you’re drunk as a skunk
I’m drunk == you’ve got crack on you, too
If you have failed miserably up to this point,
……. there almost inevitably comes the magic question:
“ You don’t have anything illegal in your vehicle, do ya… no knives, guns, bombs, hand grenades…”
Buddy, if you have gotten that question —
Ya got trouble, my friend, right here, I say, trouble right here in River City.
…….. ‘Cause the next one is the one about consent to search.
And how you answer that one…..
……… well, don’t ask me… you’d better get an attorney.
Maybe one or two of them know how to swim.
PS…. just a friendly word in your ear:
If they read you your rights, remember — SILENT.