Monthly Archives: September 2018

Casual Notice Presents Infopamphlet #31942: What to do if you’re pulled over

Editor’s note: The author is not a lawyer or officer of the court. This advice should not be taken as legal advice. If you need legal advice, talk to a lawyer; don’t go to an internet site, especially not one that focuses on oddball humor.

Other Editor’s note: I’ll be referring to the officer using the common idiom of the male pronoun. That is linguistically correct if you are unaware or unsure of the subject’s sex. If this offends you, feel free to suck it up and read something else.

You’re driving down the street, rocking out to Bananarama or Flock of Seagulls or whatever you kids listen to these days, when suddenly you see trippy red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror. What do you do?

1. Pull Over

If you are on a limited-access highway, turn on your turn signal and gradually reduce your speed as you pull into the emergency lane. Pull as far away from traffic as you can while still remaining on the pavement. If no emergency lane is available, you got me. I’d slowly work my way to the nearest exit and pull off the highway entirely, but you have to do what you think is right.

If you are on a regular road, slow down and pull into the nearest safe place to stop. A parking lot or unused side street is good. Don’t try to find a great parking space, but also don’t stop right in the middle of a busy street.

Don’t speed up. Try to indicate to the officer that you are attempting to comply with his lawful order that you pull off the road. In fact, the idea, here, is for you to stop somewhere where both you and the officer will be safe while you conduct your business.

2. Stop your car

Once your car is stopped, put it in park and turn the engine off. Take your keys out of the ignition and place them on your dashboard near the middle (so they don’t accidentally fall into the defogger vent). Some newer cars have a handy pad in front of the onboard display; if you do, put them there.

Roll your window about halfway down. This allows the officer to have a reasonable discussion with you while affording you protection against assault in the rare case that this is not a real police officer.

Tell anyone else in the car to shut the hell up and let you do the talking. They have no stake in this, unless they mouth off and force the officer to drag them down to jail for being a dumbass. They may be asked to identify themselves, and should be prepared to do so.

Put your hands on the steering wheel, at the top, and leave them there.

3. Listen to the officer and comply with his lawful requests

Depending on your state, the officer will ask to see your driver’s license and either your registration or your proof of insurance. This is a lawful request. He has already observed you in violation of at least one traffic law, and has every right to demand that you show proof that you are entitled to be driving your car on that state’s roads. Hand them over.

If you need to reach for anything, inform the officer beforehand. “My license is in my wallet,” and, “My insurance card is in my glove box.” are reasonable things to say, and allay any concerns the officer may have as to whether or not you are reaching for a weapon. Remember, he doesn’t know you; you could be a terrorist leaning over to set off your car bomb.

If you have any weapons in your car, inform the officer of them and their location. “Officer, I need to inform you that I have a loaded pistol in a console holster. I am licensed to carry,” is the sort of thing you should say, substituting the actual location and details of your right to have the weapon and whether or not it is loaded. The officer may ask you to remove the weapon and surrender it to him. He is within his rights. Again, he doesn’t know you, and part of his job is resolving the issue without anyone going to the hospital or the morgue. Without making any sudden or suspicious movements, or gripping the weapon in a threatening way, surrender the weapon to the officer. He will return it when he lets you go.

if asked to step out of the vehicle, step out. Officers may remove any person from a vehicle during a traffic stop. Pennsylvania v. Mimms, Maryland v. Wilson, Michigan v. Long, Rakas v. Illinois are all cases in which are backed by the US Supreme Court.

4. Be Polite but do not admit to wrongdoing

Greet the officer cordially, “Good afternoon, officer, may I help you?” is a nice way to do this. He may ask you if you know why he pulled you over. Politely assert that you do not know why. Don’t worry, he’ll tell you. Don’t argue with him. He’s not a judge, nor is he a prosecutor; he saw what he saw. Not only that, he told his dispatcher what he saw; he’s not going back to his car to say, “Never mind the traffic stop, dispatch; they say they didn’t do it.”

It’s important to remember that this guy (or gal) works a ten to twelve hour shift, encountering people on what is, at least the worst day of their week–possibly their year. He doesn’t need to hear how you’re a sovereign citizen and the US is just a corporation that only holds legal jurisdiction if you let it. He doesn’t need to hear about the YouTube video you saw that says you don’t have to provide your driver’s license or proof of insurance. He doesn’t want a debate. He doesn’t want any trouble at all.

The truth is, he probably didn’t want to pull you over, but your dumbass ran the red light or blew through a school zone at 50 miles per, and he didn’t have a choice. You violated one of our many sensible traffic laws that keep kindergarteners from being knocked forty feet across the road.

The point is that you made the dumbass choice to break the law, the least you can do is not give the officer any shit when he calls you down.

5. Sign the ticket

Listen while the officer explains why he’s giving you a ticket and what needs to be done, next. Sign the ticket. It is not an admission of guilt. All your signature at the bottom of a ticket says is that the officer presented you with a summons for the cited violation and you took it. Again, not an admission of guilt, just an admission that you received the ticket. Officers have to account for every ticket that comes out of their book, because they’re made of platinum, apparently.

If you do want to admit your guilt and simply pay the standard fine–and, man, I wish some of you would–there is a space for that on the back. You sign, you mail the court a check, done (unless you’re a serial dumbass, in which case the court may demand an appearance). If you only get one ticket a year, and your state/county/city allows it, you may be entitled to have the ticket quashed by attending a defensive driving class. You still have to appear in court, and the judge has to approve it.

6. Thank the officer

You don’t have to, but it’s a nice thing to do. Don’t apologize to him for being such a dumbass, but do thank him, in a general way (“Thank you, officer,” works, if you can keep the snideness out of your voice).

7. Resume your journey

Once the officer lets you go, get your keys, start your car, and carefully re-enter traffic. Don’t wait for the officer. He has some paperwork to complete, and he might find it weird that you’re just sitting there, staring in your rearview mirror. Don’t forget to make your appearance, or better yet, just pay your damn ticket.

Other questions

Can the officer search my vehicle? Yes and no. A traffic stop does not, in and of itself, constitute enough probable cause for a vehicle search. If you and your idiot friends make a scuffle hiding the bag of weed on your console, or if (bless your tiny little mind) you leave that bag on your console in plain view, then that does constitute probable cause. Basically, don’t give the officer a reason to be suspicious, and he won’t have a reason to search your car and he won’t have a rationale when the judge asks him.

I’m a reasonably attractive young woman; should I offer the officer my phone number or a blow job? Oddly enough, no. That comes off as an admission of guilt and an attempt at a bribe (how much of a bribe depends on how impressed the officer is with your attributes). Even before the days of dash and body cameras (with sound), this was an iffy proposition. Now, it’s just a good way to turn a misdemeanor traffic stop into a felony.

In closing, don’t be an idiot.

Casual Notice Presents Infopamphlet #35486

Your Go-Bag and You

It happens all the time. You have to get out, and you have to get out, now. This is why you should have a bug-out plan. If you don’t, be sure to check out Casual Notice Infopamphlet #35422: You should Have a Bug-Out Plan. But the best bug-out plan in the world is useless, if you don’t have a well organized go-bag. This infopamphlet will teach you

  • How to select and pack a good go-bag
  • What items should go into your go-bag
  • Where to keep your go-bag
  • Who should know about your go-bag, and when you should tell them.

Selecting your go-bag

Whether your cashgrab cult of personality is being investigated by the feds, your violently insane ex saw you at a gas station, or you just realized that the shady government organization that’s been employing you to kill people for the last five years may not be the good guys after all, you’ll need a sturdy and reliable way of transporting the necessities of a new life to a new location.

While many professionals will suggest that a gym bag or small duffel is the ideal go-bag, we, here at Casual Notice believe that a mid-sized student’s backpack (such as the Zammo! brand Casual Notice backpack, available in our online store) is the wiser option. The multiple pockets and sections afford better and longer-lasting organization of items, and we’ve found that the top loop included on most quality backpacks makes it a more manageable ad hoc weapon.

In any case, your go-bag should be sturdy and unobtrusive, with few noticeable details and secure fasteners.

Packing your go-bag

What should you have in your go-bag? This depends on a variety of factors, including, whether you expect the bug-out to be permanent, whether you expect to engage in a multi-target vendetta during your bug-out, and the price of replacement items in your area. However, in general, a well-packed go-bag should contain at least the following:

  • Three (3) full changes of clothes
  • Two (2) changes of identity, including at least one passport per identity
  • Ten Thousand US Dollars ($10,000) and a comparable amount of local currency
  • A shave kit and scissors
  • Colored contact lenses
  • The keys to a safe house within one hundred miles
  • At least four (4) Casual Notice brand PowerNola bars to maintain vigor during your bug-out.

The observant will note that we didn’t include a back-up weapon in the inventory. You should certainly keep a weapon near your go-bag; however, we have found that, in times of duress, having the weapon inside the bag often leads to the bag being messily unpacked, resulting in a loss of precious time and organization.

Stowing your go-bag

Until it’s needed, you should keep your go-bag in a secure, accessible, but hidden location. It’s tempting to leave it under a loose floor board or behind an incongruous painting in your residence, but you never want your go-bag to rest where you sleep. Putting aside the discourtesy of exposing anyone who may share your residence to the threat of your pursuers, it is possible that–after the initial bug-out–you may see the need to return to your residence for a forgotten keepsake or microfiche containing evidence that will blow the conspiracy apart.

We recommend the rental lockers located at any fine transportation terminal. Airport terminals are best, since they combine permanence and privacy with a certain level of security. Railway terminals are second; what they lack in security, they make up for with the fact that no one rides trains, any more. Bus stations are less expensive, but they are significantly less secure, and they are often gathering places for vagrants. If there is no other recourse, a bus station will have to do, but be prepared to smell like urine until you can locate an open Brooks Brothers.

No one who is not you should know the location of your go-bag, and the time you should tell them is never.

We hope you’ve found this Infopomphlet useful, and that the advice inside allows you the sort of temporary mobile security you deserve. Be sure to check out our other Infopamphlets, like Long Range Assassination for Recently Activated Sleepers, and So You Want to Play the Bagpipes.