I have represented hundreds of individuals who have been arrested at concerts, music festivals, and sporting events over the years. They always ask what they should have done differently during their encounters with the police.
These events are flooded with very skilled officers and detectives who are acting in an undercover capacity. You never know who you are dealing with, so govern yourself accordingly and abide by the laws of your state.
In the event that a law enforcement officer at a concert, music festival, or sporting event approaches you, then ask them if you are free to leave. If they answer yes, then any further involvement you have with them will be considered a consensual encounter. What should you do when they tell you that you are free to leave? LEAVE. It is very important that you take advantage of your rights and protect yourself.
When you ask the police if you are free to leave and they answer no, then you are being detained. At this point you should stay calm and provide the officer with your I.D. if they request it. Do not consent to a search. If they ask to search, then ask them why you are being detained. Ask them if you are free to leave. If they answer yes, then LEAVE.
If the officer tells you that you are not free to leave, then ask them, “Am I under arrest?” If they answer no, then you are being detained. If they answer yes, then you are being arrested. In both situations, do not give consent to search your person or property. If they ask you any questions, then state, “ I choose to remain silent. I want a lawyer.” If they try to persuade you to change your position, then you should continue to state, “I choose to remain silent. I want a lawyer.” Officers can lie and make false promises to entice you to speak, so remain silent and demand a lawyer. It’s not “maybe I should get a lawyer.” State unequivocally, “I want a lawyer.” Utilize your constitutional rights and protect yourself. Again, it is very important that you take advantage of your rights and protect yourself.
You should always:
- Stay calm and polite;
- Keep your hands in sight; and
- Ask to leave.
You should not:
- Make a statement;
- Agree to a search;
- Argue or fight with the cops; and
- Interfere with an arrest.
Written By Ben Hamlet
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