Know Your Rights
Also known as "S.A.F.", these are what officers of the law need to approach, search, detain, or arrest you. To elaborate, they must have "specific and articulated facts supporting suspicion" (i.e. associating you with a crime). If a cop sees you rob a convenience store, you can't just pull this out and get off scot free, but if you're being unduly hassled by the police (or just dealing with them period), knowing your rights is an asset.
Allow me to present an example:
Cop: Get your ass over here. Hey, where's that crackpipe I saw you lighting?
Me: Um, excuse me?
Cop: Get the fuck over here (grabs me, begins searching me, the 'ol pat-down).
Me: Excuse me officer, do you have specific and articulated facts associating me with any crime?
Cop: (stops searching me) What?
Me: ...because if you don't, then I'm free to go, correct?
Cop: Hold on a goddamn minute-
Me: (cutting him off) Are you detaining me?
Me: Then I am free to go, correct?
Cop: Get the fuck out of here.
And thus, the situation was "diffused". Granted, there are a variety of reactions to the expression of one's rights. A lot of times, the police will see this as a hassle to them, and leave you alone. Other times however, they might get pissed off and haul you down to the station with a bullshit reason, which you may or may not be able (or willing) to fight. So, I offer this information to be used at your discretion. If a cop seems belligerent, it may be best to take the bullshit, put up with the illegal search, etc. In other situations, however, expression of your rights will in fact intimidate an officer, and save you hassle and dignity. Good luck out there, it can be rough.
Note: One important fact is that when the law says the police need "specific and articulated facts supporting suspicion" to search or detain you, there is no further definition
of this. In other words if a cop replies, "Yes, I do," you can either run
or deal with them calmly (see What to do if you're stopped by the police
). Those facts can be debated in a courtroom
, but not out on the beat. Just be aware, this isn't quite a "get out of jail free card