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  1. Do not consent to a search: If a police officer does not have a warrant, you do not and should not allow him or her to search your property. Police are permitted to lie in the course of an investigation- they may tell you that they will get a warrant, and it will be better for you to consent. Even if you do not believe that you have anything incriminating in or on your property, do not consent to a warrantless search.
  2. Do not talk to co-workers, family, or friends: You may believe that you are confiding in someone that you can trust, but circumstances can always change. Police may pressure someone you love to divulge entrusted information. Your relationship with someone close to you may become strained and they may feel inclined to speak to police. This type of hearsay is not admissible in court; however, it may be used to obtain search and arrest warrants.
  3. Do not post on social media: Increasingly, police agencies are relying on social media for investigations. (Learn more here.) Do not be fooled by privacy settings. Do not assume that a deleted post is hidden from the public forever. You most likely do not know every one of your friends or followers. You cannot, most likely, explicitly trust every one of your friends or followers. If you post something incriminating, it can and most likely will be used against you. Even if you are innocent, a seemingly mundane post may be taken out of context and used against you.
  4. Do not "explain" your actions to police: Many people believe that their actions, even their illegal actions, are justifiable. Many believe that if they could just explain what happened to police officers, what they did would not seem that bad and the police would understand. The police do not care why you did what you did. The police care that you broke the law. If you attempt to explain your actions you are, in effect, incriminating yourself.
  5. Do not smoke marijuana in your car: Most people are arrested and convicted because of their own blatant criminal behavior. Smoking marijuana in a car is a popular example of this- police officers will be able to smell marijuana, no matter how much you attempt to mask the scent. That smell could lead to you being charged with a DUI, possession, and/or distribution. Simply avoiding conspicuous illegal activity is the best way to avoid incriminating yourself.


Welcome back to school and welcome to our "Know Your Rights" Series! Every other week we will be posting on a topic that is essential to understanding your rights protected under federal and state law. We are launching our series with an analysis of your Miranda Rights. 

NCAA Sanctions May Violate Civil Rights

There has been an ongoing battle between Penn State and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The school's football team has been paying for mistakes made by top-level executives of the program for the past two years. After former coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse conviction, an official investigation, led by Louis J. Freeh and commissioned by the university, found that the school's staff and team officials did not do enough to investigate allegations of abuse or bring Sandusky to justice.


A just outcome was reached in the horrific case of a University of California student being imprisoned in a United States DEA jail cell for 4 and half days without food or water. The San Francisco Gate reported today that the 25-year-old student, Daniel Chong, reached a $4.1M settlement with the federal government after he was abandoned in a windowless DEA jail cell for more than 4 days without food and water. As a result of the deplorable conditions that Daniel faced, including drinking his own urine to stay alive, the federal government introduced national standards which include daily inspections of cells and requiring that all DEA jail cells include cameras. Mr. Chong's case brings up an important point and that individuals, through no fault of their own, find themselves subjected to police misconduct at the federal or state and local level. The fourth amendment guarantees each citizen the right to be free from invasive practices by the police and government officials, and if you believe that you have been subjected to police misconduct in State College or Centre County, it is imperative that you contact an experienced State College Police Misconduct Attorney.

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