Minimizing financial impacts of being put in police custody?

Since when are bicycles registered? And I dont know about high-end models, but I’m pretty sure most dont have serial numbers.

And…? You were wherever you were, you cant really change that after the fact. Unless you plan to lie about being where you were, which would be a different discussion altogether…

Yes, I think the whole “the cops can lie to you” thing is overblown to begin with (maybe Meed can comment). But when they do, it’s to trip up a guilty person, not entrap an innocent person. Your example makes no sense, because the guilty person would know where the crime occured regardless of what the cop says.


My example is much more likely than the one you just gave. Keep in mind what I said before. A huge amount (I estimate probably over 95%) of arrests go from where handcuffs are placed on straight to jail. The example you are giving is one of those arrests where someone is being questioned at the precinct/station. People aren’t stopped on the street for things that happened miles away. In those situations where you are being questioned in a police station - I will clarify. There are two types of interrogations. Custodial and non-custodial. If you were placed in a police car with handcuffs on and taken somewhere to be questioned, that is a custodial interrogation and you have to be read your miranda rights - DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE. You’re already going to jail. However, if you are asked to come down to the police station, or “offered a ride” and you aren’t put in handcuffs, that is a non-custodial interrogation. You need to be extremely careful about what you say in those interrogations and you might be lied to. If you are sure of why you are being questioned, know you are innocent, can explain what happened without incriminating yourself in anything, AND you can do that without lying, it will probably benefit you to talk to the police. Witnesses are often treated like suspects at first (because the police really don’t know who did what in the beginning) and if you really are just a witness and you can help the investigation, you will probably be better off telling them what you know even if they are suspicious of you. But if you had ANY involvement, no matter how remote, find a lawyer and don’t talk to the police before that.

Most people don’t have their bike’s serial number written down so they can give it to the police when their bike is stolen. You are right that it would be unlikely for someone to be convicted of possession of stolen property if they put up a defense that the bike they had was a bike sold at walmart and the victim didn’t know their serial number. That won’t meet the beyond a reasonable doubt standard. But you don’t need a serial number to be arrested. You only need probable cause.
Vic: “That’s my bike! I reported it stolen yesterday from my house. I live a block away.”
Cop: [looks up police report and the description of the stolen bike matches the bike on scene but no serial number] “How do you know it’s your bike?”
Vic: “My bike had a rip on the seat just like that.”
Cop: [Observes ripped seat, says to suspect] “Where did you get this bike?”
Suspect: “I don’t want to answer any questions until I speak with an attorney.”
Cop: “You’re under arrest for possession of stolen property.”

The cop really has no choice but to arrest in that scenario. Now if that cop wants to guarantee that conviction, he better find some more evidence (surveillance video, picture of victim’s bike before it was stolen matching the bike they just found, witness, etc.). But arrests are more important to a cop’s stats and resume than convictions, so he might stop the investigation right there and let the court sort it out. Regardless, the suspect has now been arrested and has to hope his lawyer can get him off and hope that the victim doesn’t lie even more in court. It’s not a farfetched scenario.


I don’t know. When my ~$500 bike was stolen and I tried to report it to the police, they asked for the serial number and whether it was registered.

You’re assuming that the cop cares about your guilt or innocence. This professor and the videos in the first post provide lots of examples of innocent people getting convicted.

But would you be even better off if you had your lawyer present? I think that’s the point of the professor’s videos (and book) and the examples in the OP – innocent people get convicted, more often than not because they talked to the cops without their lawyer present.

Nobody sleeps like a baby on those cold benches, unless their chemically impaired. :smile:

If they don’t care, they’re just booking you and not asking you anything. And if you happen to draw the occasional bad cop looking to solve crimes by pinning them on the nearest warm body, you’re already screwed no matter what you do or do not say.

Your professor and his videos discuss worst-case possibilities that are mostly hypothetical. How many of those examples were the result of a cop lying and tricking the innocent suspect into admitting something that was in fact true during the preliminary interrogation?

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Yikes! If every witness (the ones that will admit to seeing something) requires an attorney before speaking with the police, the ABA would give out gold statues.

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Do you have those same d̶o̶u̶b̶t̶s̶ suspicions of politicians? They are much more apt to fit your view of humans than the police, despite what the mainstream media says.

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People would be better off if they had an accountant handle every dollar they ever earned and he gave them an allowance to live on. People would be better off if they had professional drivers transport them while they texted rather than texting behind the wheel themselves. Most people don’t have the ability to pay for that service. If you witness a crime and want your lawyer present while you are telling the cops what you saw, I won’t begrudge you that. But no, I don’t think, in almost all situations, that someone that is just a witness is even better off if they have their lawyer present because 1) they look like they have something to hide, and 2) their wallet will be lighter.

Did you say “I don’t know it. No it wasn’t registered.” And did they refuse to take your report because of that? If so, you could have filed a complaint on a lazy cop. Reports of crimes have to be taken regardless of the likelihood of the stolen property being recovered.

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And I dont know about high-end models, but I’m pretty sure most dont have serial numbers.

Evidently “almost all” bikes have serial numbers engraved on the frame.

I’m not surprised, at all, that even cheap bikes would have it, because they are vehicles where people could potentially die or be severely injured due to manufacturing flaws, and they need to be able to reliably recall or deal with warranty claims.

That said – I wasn’t aware that registering bikes was even a thing you could do. I guess it would make sense for the new breed of ebikes. But for most bikes, I can’t imagine that it matters.

Don’t talk to the police? The last time I encountered a policeman talking certainly helped! Traffic accident, the woman that hit me had come to an unreasonable conclusion about the situation. I pointed out the truth to the cop–yes, the road had been empty. I didn’t get there by driving at a crazy speed, I got there by turning from the next block up. She got ticketed at the scene, making it a lot easier dealing with the insurance.


It depends on the locality whether its offered or not. Lots of big cities and colleges offer it. The city I worked in didn’t. Nothing for bikes or other motorized conveyances that weren’t considered vehicles by the DMV. It became a huge deal when gas scooters from china became cheap and prevalent in the late 2000s. Thankfully a few years later, my state passed a law requiring them to be titled and registered with the DMV even though you didn’t need a license to operate one.

I swear, before that there were only 10 scooters in the whole city and they just got passed around from unlicensed driver to unlicensed driver via theft. Since the first person that bought it never knew their VIN to give to us when it was reported stolen, and it got filed off by the next thief anyway. I towed more than 50% of the scooters I did traffic stops on for not having a VIN, but was rarely ever able to arrest the dude driving it.


The argument against biometric unlocks is that police can simply get into your phone without your consent to look for evidence if they need/want to. As a defendant, I’d consider this potentially very detrimental. On the other hand, they cannot make you reveal your PIN (5th amendment against incriminating yourself).

Even if you’re innocent of the crime they’re suspecting you of, what if they find something else in your phone while looking for evidence on you? As a cop, would you look the other way if information in a suspect’s phone pointed to another crime or would you book them for it as well?


I’m pretty sure the advice changes when you know you are guilty of a crime but not the one they’re asking you about.

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The way I see it, if I’m ok with the cops getting into my phone, I can choose to give them my PIN to look up something.

But with biometric unlock, the decision is out of my hands. I don’t see how this is remotely beneficial regardless of the situation. What can I say, I’m a control freak.


How can a cop get in your phone with a biometric unlock without you “entering” the biometrics? To me, it’s safer. If you give me your pin, I can remember it/write it down, then after your booked and I’m back at the precinct, I could go through your phone with the pin you gave me an hour ago. If I use your fingerprint to unlock the phone and it relocks, how am I going to get into it once I’m back at the precinct?

Regardless, there is case law on phone searches. You need a warrant.

I would have to buy and read his book to find out. But if you watch the videos in the OP you’d see exactly that.

Unfortunately I do not remember all the details and I now wish I hadn’t mentioned registration, because I just don’t remember. I think they were willing to take the report, but basically said that while chances of recovery were very low to begin with, they were even lower without the serial number. I had the receipt from the bike shop and it had the serial number.

Judges had done this in the past though, and failure to comply = contempt of court. Not sure if those rulings were appealed or what the current situation is.

Another argument against biometric lock (at least with the face) is just one month old.

??? You put it in front of their face if it’s a face lock. Touch the phone to their fingers if it’s a fingerprint lock.

The book is pretty good. Shows a ton of ways in which the police and DA can use your testimony against you, and completely out of context of what you really said.

Bottom line- if you’re really the target of an investigation, talking won’t help you. A lot of it is also about the sneaky trap about lying to a federal officer, even inadvertently.

Where I think people get tripped up is when cooperating will keep you from spending the night in jail, but how is a random citizen supposed to know the difference?


How? They need a warrant to “force” your finger onto the phone or the same with your image. IIRC, its the same exact thing as a locked safe in your home. If you refuse to give the combination/fingerprint/facial rec, they can lock you up until you do.

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Not without a warrant, or permission from the owner. Facial rec and fingerprint locks are the same as a pin. If you plan on ignoring a court order, then a pin is probably more secure.