Peter Baskin is very knowledgeable on the topic of deceptive cops and their methods of deceit due to his forty-eight years as an attorney in Northern Virginia. A graduate of the University of Hartford and George Washington University Law School, he strives to inform readers of the hypocrisy and deceit within the justice system. Mr. Baskin’s Martindale- Hubbell peer review rating is AV pre-eminent, the highest attainable for proficiency and ethical standards. He resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, Joanne.
“From a young age, we are taught that the policeman is our friend,” says Peter Baskin. “This unfortunately has led to self-incrimination and other such avoidable mistakes by Americans when they encounter police because they do not know how to correctly exercise their right to remain silent.”
A Toast to Silence is his offering to help Americans everywhere recognize police deception and lies so they can win in court. He resides in northern Virginia with his wife, Jo Anne.
Why did you write this book?
Millions of people every year self destruct when stopped by the police because they are deceived about their right to silence at that moment and don't know what to say or do, make mistakes by giving evidence they don't have to give and lose in Court, I wrote it to help them do better in the Criminal Justice System than simply give up and plead guilty because they gave themselves no other choice.
What is "A Toast to Silence" about?
It's about not being counted among the twelve million Americans who get arrested annually, 90% of whom plead guilty and are convicted by evidence they needlessly gave to the police because they didn't know they didn't have to give that evidence or were deceived or intimidated by the police into not remaining silent and giving them evidence.
Why don't they know what to do and say when stopped or approached by a police officer?
Media driven misinformation exploited by the police who use clever conversation to disguise their real purpose - to get evidence from you, the constitutional right to silence says you don't have to give, and then use it against you in Court effectively because what you say is the strongest evidence there is against yourself.
Is your book anti-police?
On the contrary, it states repeatedly that they are, for the most part, competent and professional. I mainly point out the methods they are trained to use to trick and deceive you into giving up your right to silence and not take tests, and thereby give them evidence which they use against you in Court.
How does the media misinform the public about police/citizen encounters?
Widely popular law and order programming suggests our right to silence and not take tests begins when we hear the Miranda warning and not before that moment. That's when we are arrested because we talked and tested before the warning is given. This programming also sends the message that we must participate in being interrogated, tested and answering the police - a false message.
If someone is stopped for possibly being under the influence, what is required of them; what is not required?
Required: motionless hands in plain sight, calmness and politeness to the officer, identify yourself and exit your vehicle if directed or asked to do so. Nothing else. Not Required: talking, admissions, giving answers to questions or explanations about anything, especially alcohol consumption, drug possession, cooperating by taking breath tests and field sobriety tests.
Won't the officer get angry and arrest me if I don't cooperate?
Probably, but either way, not giving evidence or giving evidence that you may be under the influence is going to get you arrested. The correct and better focus is on not getting convicted in Court by not giving evidence on the street.
Why do people fear arrest and then make mistakes under the false notion that cooperating will avoid arrest?
Media conditioning over many years has convinced us that free speech and cooperating is the answer to everything and the police are our teammates; they are not and the only helpful form of behavior is staying calm, being respectful and remaining silent, after identifying yourself. Simply say to the officer "Sir/Madam, I choose to remain silent, am not taking any tests, and have nothing else to say - either arrest me or let me leave."
What should I not do or say?
No matter what the officer says do not discuss anything or take any tests. Don't be rude, loud, disrespectful or argumentative. Don't move your hands out of sight or anywhere quickly. Make sure the officer can always see your hands and keep them as motionless as possible. Always promptly identify yourself.
How do the police get us to give up our rights?
They lie, skillfully, cleverly disguising the truth about your rights and their objective at the most critical moment of your encounter with them - that is before you ever hear the Miranda warning. Most people think their right to silence only begins when the officer recites the Miranda warning, but it is before that moment when they could remain silent when all the mistakes are made which leads to arrest and getting convicted in Court. That is their true objective which they disguise.
What are some of the deceptions and misrepresentations the police use when they stop or approach?
Police deception techniques and wording are many and varied but generally consist of telling you how much trouble you're in and that talking to them and testing for them is better for you than remaining silent and not testing, that you are misinformed about your rights if you exercise them and that in remaining silent you are mistaken or even committing the crime of obstructing justice. In the book I set out, word for word many of their commonly used lies and how to respond to them. The safest, most reliable and effective response is not talking, not testing and remaining silent, telling the officer politely, but clearly, that's what you're doing and don't change your mind.
Why is the conviction rate from guilty pleas so high?
Because people fear arrest and from that fear make the mistakes that provide the police the evidence that causes their arrest. The police stimulate that fear as they are trained for the sole purpose of getting the evidence they need to arrest you and cause your conviction in Court. Remaining silent and not taking tests, which are voluntary and which you can refuse to take, may cause your arrest but that arrest will not be from evidence you gave and that lack of evidence will probably result in not losing in Court. What gets you convicted is evidence; don't give it to the police; you don't have to.
When does my right to silence begin?
Contrary to nearly universal popular belief from media and police misinformation, the right to silence applies the moment the police stop you. It does not begin with the Miranda warning which is given post arrest. The Fifth Amendment right to silence applies pre-Miranda, before your arrest; in fact it applies at all times.
If I'm arrested do I go straight to jail?
No. If you are arrested in metropolitan areas, you first appear before a judicial officer who makes the jail decision, not the cop. If you are in a rural area, you may be held in custody until the next business day of the Court. In most non-violent, victimless misdemeanor cases and most traffic cases, the judicial officer releases you on some form of bond or a personal promise to appear in Court.
Will an arrest become a part of my permanent record?
No. If you are not convicted you can clear your arrest record by what is known as expungement or erasure proceedings. By not giving evidence, you can probably avoid conviction. Your focus should be on conviction avoidance, not arrest avoidance. In the final analysis it is only conviction that really matters, not your arrest, and convictions come from evidence. These are the two words to remember.
If I'm arrested and I think it's without a valid basis, what should I do?
Do not argue, or resist. Stay calm and just submit to the arrest without saying anything except "OK, arrest me." Then remain silent until you are taken before a judicial officer as the cop is required to do. Then discuss with the judicial officer matters concerning bond and a Court date, and nothing else. You will probably be promptly released and away from the cop whose job is done until Court, once he brings you to the judicial officer. Arrest is not the life shattering big deal most people think it is, or the police want you to believe. It's unpleasant, but not nearly as unpleasant as the consequences of getting convicted in Court.
What, in a nutshell, is your message to folks who may get stopped or encounter the police?
Talking and testing are not required. Don't be intimidated, tricked or seduced into doing or thinking otherwise. If you talk and take sobriety tests, you will lose in Court. These tests have little scientific validity and you don't have to take them, so don't. The police will say all sorts of things to get you to take them. Politely refuse and don't change your mind even if they threaten to arrest you. Stop giving evidence against yourself to the police. Simply identify yourself, say you are remaining silent, taking no tests, then stop, and don't change your mind, no matter what the officer says to you.