There are a few general rules that can make your life much easier both inside and outside of the criminal justice realm. I call them my "golden rules." Consider these:
- Just because something is Constitutional doesn't mean it's a good idea. Oh sure, you have the right to "flip off" a policeman or express your displeasure by yelling "f*ck the police", but what good does it do you? All you get is alot of scrutiny that you could have avoided.
- Never consent to a police search of your body, blood, breath, saliva, DNA, automobile, computer or residence. You have nothing to gain. Even if the police promise to get a search warrant and come back, make them. You gain nothing by consenting.
- The only way to "beat the system" is to stay out of it. If you get arrested and charged with a crime, you find yourself under the control of other people, be it a jailer or a bondsman or a judge or a prosecutor. You are on the defensive from the start and often the best outcome you can hope for is to get back to where you were the moment before you entered the criminal justice system. You don't beat the system. You survive it.
- Never talk to the police. The police want nothing more than to hear "your side of the story" so they can use it against you. If your side needs to be told, there will be plenty of time later to tell it. But before you say anything, talk to a lawyer first. Prisons are full of people who thought they could talk their way out of a jam.
- Don't spend dollars to win dimes. I often here stories of people who have been wronged and want to sue. The problem is that the wrong is less expensive than the suit. Why gamble $5,000 to win $50? It's not worth it, no matter how right you think you are. Pick your battles.
- Public defenders are worth every penny you pay them. Most public defenders are talented and hard-working. But no matter how good of an attorney a public defender may be, they get their budget from the taxpayers and taxpayers hate to fund public defenders. As a result, public defenders are overworked, underpaid, and less effective than they should be. The US Attorney General and a host of others have said so.
- Never break more than one law at a time. How do most drug cases begin? Traffic stops. People who are already breaking the law by having drugs in their car should not also break the law by having busted tag lights, cracked windshields, etc.