Law and Order

From AKTI: What to do when you encounter Law Enforcement while carrying a knife

Earlier this week, as a part of our 2017 Reader Submission Contest, we brought you the tale of the nightmare experienced by one of our readers. His son was caught carrying a knife which was not in fact illegal in the State of Michigan, but was nonetheless charged with possession of an illegal knife.

The American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI), the trade group for the knife industry and an advocate for knife owners, shared this story in an email blast this afternoon along with a piece titled: Encounters with Law Enforcement. It outlines how to handle yourself if you find yourself in an interaction with the authorities while carrying a knife. It was written by attorney Anthony Sculimbrene of the blog EverydayCommentary (yes that Anthony Sculimbrene).

The piece has the standard disclaimer about not being formal legal advice, rather is meant to be a set of practical guidelines. That said, it closely matches a similar piece by Evan F. Nappen written for Blade Magazine. I encourage you to read both pieces, as they could save you a tremendous amount of hassle and heartbreak.

From AKTI:

Stage 1:  Law Enforcement Approaching
As the officer approaches, be calm, non-confrontational, and responsive to his or her requests.  Do not try to hide or dispose of items.  Never physically engage the officer or make threatening statements.  Keep your hands visible and do not make sudden movements or fidget.

Stage 2:  Interaction with Law Enforcement
Once engaged by the officer, you should immediately ask if you are free to leave If the officer says yes, leave immediately.  If the officer says no, tell the officer that you will comply with his requests but only after you have consulted with a lawyer.

Stage 3:  Arrest or Seizure
If you not free to leave assert your Miranda rights as soon as you can.  Tell the police the following:

I want a lawyer immediately.
I do not want to talk without my lawyer present.
I do not want to waive any rights.
Do not ask me to waive my rights at a later time.
I do not consent to any searches

Assert your right to a lawyer first and repeatedly.  It is the strongest Miranda right.

The AKTI piece goes on to explain what to do throughout the booking process and afterwards. As I said, read the whole thing.

Bottom line, it is not in your interest to talk to the police, even if you believe you are innocent. Regent Law Professor James Duane explains the situation in the video below. It is somewhat lengthy (it would be even longer if he didn’t speak so ungodly fast), but is actually incredibly entertaining as well as informative. I have watched it several times over the last few years and cannot recommend it highly enough. The second half of the video is a rebuttal from an LEO who is also fairly entertaining.

I would like to thank Jan Billeb, Executive Director of AKTI, for leaving a comment on our piece this week, as well as for what help our reader reports they provided while he was going through this terrible situation. I appreciate AKTI’s sharing of our reader’s story in their email blast as well.

Discussion

3 responses to ‘From AKTI: What to do when you encounter Law Enforcement while carrying a knife

  1. Basically correct . But dont think it’ll go like that in real life . If your knife is legal just go with the program ( I often carry illegal ones where I live and work, and use them openly in the presents of LEO with No problem’os ).

    The hard assed am I free to go ones will find that the game is then on .Hint the game is rigged you may win the game a year or so later with tons of legal bills , congrats , but it was cheaper not to play .

  2. ” If the officer says no, tell the officer that you will comply with his requests but only after you have consulted with a lawyer…”

    You don’t have to confess (or make any statements relating to a suspected crime), but ‘complying’ is a broader term that has a particular meaning in criminal justice. If you are told to do something by the police, and they have the legal authority, refusal to comply is not legal or helpful. Example: if the officer tells you to put your hands behind your back because you are under arrest for some BS (but legal) charge because you pissed him off by trying the “AM I FREE TO LEAVE” stuff; if you don’t comply, that’s going to make things a lot worse. You also have to give standard booking information if you want to get out of jail… since it is not incriminating information it doesn’t fall under the protection against self-incrimination.

    “Bottom line, it is not in your interest to talk to the police, even if you believe you are innocent…”

    You’ll hear this from lawyers a lot who make money by showing up to court cases for their clients who got arrested on *just enough* evidence because they acted guilty of some penny-ante crime. Don’t get me wrong, there are times to shut up, but there are times that talking will get you out of what looks like a bad situation. I recommend people read the following article that gives a much better (and real-life) rundown on how to deal with cops:

    http://tuckermax.me/how-to-deal-with-cops-2/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *