Dealing with Police Statements & Plea BargainingThursday, May 12, 2011
The graffiti writers Ether and Utah have been putting together Paperwork Wednesdays to help keep you informed if you ever have to deal with police. In this week’s segment they’ve provided information about making police statements and plea bargains if you’re ever arrested. For more information check out Ether and Utah’s blog.
First and foremost we are consistently surprised to many of the stories were hear from other graffiti writters concerning the “Vandal Squad”, or what ever other graffiti-related police they encounter. At no point during our arrests were either of us shown any photos of anyone else’s graffiti or anyone’s warrants or paperwork by police officers. It really makes us wonder what people run their mouths about to get to the point where police are showing them photos and shooting the breeze about other people’s business. When arrested, all you need to do is provide your name and ask for a lawyer. There is no conversation to be had beyond that.
Some of this may sound obvious, however you will be very surprised as to how often people fail to realize that IF AT ANY POINT, you find your self in handcuffs for any reason, you do not have to respond to any questions that police ask you. We suggest informing them of your personal information as far as government name and whatever bullshit address you would like to give them. If you refrain from giving this information you will be sitting in jail until authorities can figure out who you really are (ie: a long time).
Often, after being arrested police will attempt to get you to sign some sort of statement. They will often tell you what you did “isn’t a big deal”, and if you just cop to one charge, they won’t charge you with anything else. They might even offer to let you go home right then and there if you sign a statement, and threaten that if you don’t sign, they will go even harder on you. Remember during and arrest and interrogation police officers can and will lie to you, they are not breaking any law in doing so.
It is in your best interest NOT to write or sign any statements. If you do your a strait up toy, and don’t deserve to be writing graffiti. At no point can a police officer ever make you a deal. They do not have the ability to ensure you of anything in the courts. They merely arrest individuals and assist in building cases. Anything beyond that is left to the District Attorney, your lawyer, and the Judge. Police officers hold NO POWER in regards to “agreements” or anything of the sort. So there is ABSOLUTLEY, NO REASON to talk to them. They can not and will not help you. It is not their job to help you. In fact, if you are breaking the law, it is pretty much their job to fuck you over. By getting you to sign a statement admitting to even just one thing, it helps authorities build a case on you, and opens the floodgates for future incitements and arrest warrants.
A common misconception of a Plea Bargain is that someone snitched, which is usually not the case. By definition, a plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case whereby the prosecutor offers the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty, to either a lesser charge or to the original criminal charge with a recommendation of a lighter than the maximum sentence. For example if you have ever been to court and received a conditional discharge, pleaded no-contest or been ordered to pay a fine to get a charge dropped then you have accepted guilt to a crime for a lesser sentence. Plea bargaining is a significant part of the criminal justice system in the United States; the vast majority (roughly 90%) of criminal cases in the United States are settled by plea bargain rather than by a jury trial.In certain circumstances plea bargains can include co-operating with and give information to the District Attorney. In such cases the details of the agreement will be transcribed in the court records (ie: they will most likely be public record.)
Read more here.