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Not to blow my own horn, but I was out in front of CNN as I made exactly the same point, yesterday here at Karim’s New Jersey Personal Injury Blog.   The CNN.com article explained, as its title lets on, a person’s rights during a traffic stop.  It continued:

Retired New York police detective Harry Houck said an officer should never tell a person not to record.

But, he and other experts said, having the right to do certain things doesn’t necessarily mean you should do them.

“Any level-headed person who gets pulled over does what a police officer tells you and there won’t be any problems,” said Houck. “Whether the cop is wrong, you can hash it out in courts after it’s over. 

“Can you smoke? Yeah, you can,” Houck continued. “Can he tell you to put it out? No. But why don’t you just be smart and put it out?”

[CNN’s legal anlyst] agrees. He advises people that the best option to avoid a potentially terrible situation — an arrest or worse — is “eat the bust and we’ll deal with it later.”

“We know the reality of trying to play lawyer with the police,” [the CNN legal analyst] said. “Do you want to make a stand for justice or do you want to go home? The way you show a police officer that they’re wrong is not at the time of the traffic stop. It’s later in court.”

[The CNN legal analyst] is well aware this isn’t soothing to anyone who has felt violated during a traffic stop.

Hate to say “told you so” but I DID say yesterday: “Listen to the police.” It isn’t always the easy thing to do but it’s always the right thing to do. You might be able to file a civil action later — if so, live to see that day.  CNN has now agreed with me.

– Karim

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