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As stated in the previous blog, the Wall Street Journal reported that nearly one in three working adult Americans has a criminal record.
Nearly half of black males and almost 40 percent of white males are arrested by the age of 23.
Likely, this will impact your future job prospects and finances.
So, how do you keep from getting arrested in the first place?
Start With the Obvious
Street cops make the majority of arrests. So worry about street cops.
Now for the obvious: don’t text and drive, don’t drive drunk, don’t drive with an illegal weapon, don’t run red lights, don’t speed, don’t drive recklessly, and don’t drive with your drugs in the car (keep your prescription meds in their prescribed bottle!).
Appearances Are Important!
D.L. Hughley – comedian and social commentator – wrote a book entitled “I Want You To Shut the F- Up.” In the very first chapter, he warned his son Kyle about “wearing his pants hanging off his ass.” Hughley warned his son that he was “sending out the wrong kind of message.” Later, Kyle was accosted wrongfully in a high-end jewelry store – a store that had had a relationship with the Hughley family for fifteen years!
Kyle was a good kid. But the only people who knew that were his mom and dad! Hughley wanted to raise his son to face the world as it is, not the world he wants it to be.
You’re judged on your appearance. Deal with it.
Keep your car and hygiene clean. Prejudice against the poor is universal because poor people are desperate and do desperate things. Don’t put effects on your car because they draw attention. Don’t have pot-leafs on your tattoos, t-shirts, or bumper stickers! You’re begging to be pulled over.
Be careful about tattoos! All thugs, cons, gangsters, and skinheads get tattoos. It’s part of the lifestyle. Can you be a good person with a tattoo? Of course. But like Hughley’s son found out, the cops don’t know you! And tattoos don’t look innocent at 2 in the morning when you're pulled over.
You’re Pulled Over – Now What?
Like Hughley tells his son, keep your hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel. It shows the cops that “you’re housebroken.”
No delusions! At this point – YOU HAVE NO POWER! Cops demand respect at all times. Be polite. The cop could be a saint or a devil. Be polite. Don’t move unless given permission. The cop could be courteous or obnoxious. Either way, be polite. You’ll have plenty of time to curse him when you’re home!
Never give a ride to your buddies if they’re potheads. You get pulled over. Your “friend” hides the weed. Now the cops own your car thanks to civil forfeiture.
Never, ever touch a cop for any reason! It’s automatically assault.
“Society will tell you that the more you talk to the police, the better…That’s not true,” writes Hughley.
“You have the right to remain silent.” But don’t stonewall a cop; you’ll make him angry. As Dale Carson – a former vice cop with Miami-Dade and author of the book “Arrest-Proof Yourself” – tells us: just give your name and basic info….then shut up. Don’t speak unless spoken to. The more you talk, the more pathetic or guilty you look.
When pressed with a question you can’t handle, here are Carson’s magic words mixed with Hughley’s wisdom: “OFFICER, I RESPECT YOU VERY MUCH AND WHAT YOU DO, AND I’D LIKE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS, BUT MY ATTORNEYS TOLD ME THAT IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS, I SHOULD NOT SAY ANYTHING UNLESS THEY ARE PRESENT.”
This respectfully ends the questioning. And let’s the cop think you have a lawyer. By the way…
Get a Lawyer’s Card!
Street cops may not be political, but their superiors are (or they wouldn’t get promoted). The more connected you make yourself look, the harder you seem to arrest. Don’t say something stupid like, “I know people in this town!” You’ll make the cop angry. Nobody thinks when they’re angry. You want your cop to think and be reasonable!
How do you communicate your credentials without a word? Carson’s “best credentials” are your ID, the card of a criminal defense attorney, and…the card of a cop-buddy you know.
Cops are very fraternal. They hate to piss off other cops. Cards let the officer know that you’re connected. Credentials tend to stop the barrage of questions.
Paperclip your business cards to your registration or insurance card. The cop will look at them. Cops are always curious.
But when all else fails…
Ask For The Magic Ticket!
You’ll never see this on an episode of “Cops” because the cameras are rolling, but any officer can give you a Notice to Appear in lieu of an arrest.
A Notice to Appear (abbreviated NOA, or sometimes NTA) is a citation that requires you to appear in court. You’re not arrested because you’re promising to appear in court instead. You can still be convicted in court, but it gives you time to lawyer up and beg the judge to dismiss charges or issue a citation instead of a felony. The best part is that you were never arrested, never fingerprinted, and never had a mug shot. Thus you don’t have an arrest record!
The NOA is a wonderful thing! It’s the juiciest tidbit in this article. When there’s nothing left between you and the backseat of a squad car, beg for a NOA! Let the cop impound your car. That way the cop makes points with his supervisor. The impound fees are far cheaper than legal fees! Just please give me that NOA!
As of July 1, 2015, more than 70 million people have records indexed by the III, the Interstate Identification Index used by the FBI. And that arrest record will be there forever.
To quote Dale C. Carson: “You can never pay your debt to society because society, with its computers, never forgets and never forgives.”
An arrest record doesn’t ruin your life necessarily, but it will always be there to diminish your prospects and power. A record makes life harder, when it’s hard enough already.
If you can’t be a saint, be smart. If you can’t be smart, be respectful. These are the rules when dealing with cops. These are good rules for life!
Caron, Dale C., and Wes Dunham. Arrest-proof Yourself. Chicago Review Press, 2006.
Hughley, D. L., and Michael Malice. I Want You To Shut the F#ck Up: How the Audacity Of Dopes Is Ruining America. Crown Archetype, 2012.
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Hello! My name is Heath Shive, content manager at ScholarFox. I'll be the author of most of the blog posts. I'm a former geologist and currently a freelance writer. The world is complex and seemingly crazy. Good! Because when you love to learn, you'll never be bored.