Legal Tip: Carry, or Don’t Carry, a ‘Statement Card’?

By Woody published on in Legal Issues

In the U.S. Law Shield and Texas Law Shield Forums, a member asked the lawyers:

Q: Would you carry this statement card with you and hand it to the police, or could it be interpreted as premeditation? Original card developed from a presentation given by Massad Ayoob.

Statement Card to Police

  • That man attacked me.
  • I was afraid of great bodily harm including death.
  • I am innocent.
  • I will sign a complaint.
  • The evidence is there.
  • The witnesses (if any) are there.
  • You may have my full cooperation, after I have spoken with my attorney.
  • I have nothing further to say at this time.

An article in the Feb/March 2014 Concealed Carry magazine by K.L. Jamison, Esq. titled “The First Statement to Police ‘Goldilocks Dilemma,’” prompted this question.

I called my attorney here in Denver to ask him, and he said if the prosecutor ever found out I had contacted him before an incident, which I was doing at that moment, it could be interpreted as premeditation. So, I suspect me posing this question here might have the same interpretation. Seems as if having U.S. Law Shield protection could have the same consequence; yes, no? I am simply trying to proactively protect myself.

I think the reasoning behind the card idea is that in the “heat of the moment,” one is not thinking clearly and may not be able to remember all that needs to be said, and/or say too much. Is a person expected to remember all they need to at such a time? Most research suggests that is never going to be reality.

I think police involved in any shooting incident are instructed to not make any statement for three days, and of course they are interacting with folks who have their backs right from the start. We are NOT so lucky!

Having the U.S. Law Shield program might be interpreted as preemptive premeditation. Seems using a weapon in self-defense is a “crap shoot” as far as what the outcome may be. — John

Law Shield responds: Great question. Having pre-printed cards to that effect do seem a little premeditated, in that each factual situation is different. These are certainly good and accurate things to say, but having them pre-printed on a card seems a little over the top. Additionally, the invocation of your rights should be made verbally in the case of an incident.

A motivated DA will attempt to use anything and everything against a defendant. It is the lawyer’s job to mitigate that as irrelevant. We believe it is certainly not any form of premeditation to consult an attorney generally concerning what the legal process is or what it may entail.

While the statement card sure sounds convenient, a simple statement such as the example you provided, is not going to be appropriate for every situation.

The most important thing to remember is that you have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and to speak with counsel prior to any police interviews. If you are not in a state to recall details, we recommend that you call the TLS emergency hotline or your attorney. An attorney will be able to walk you through what to say, and more importantly, what NOT to say when the police are on the scene.

If you want to ask a question of the U.S. Law Shield or Texas Law Shield lawyers, contact U.S. Law Shield or Texas Law Shield lawyers or post your question in our comment section.

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Comments (28)

  • alan

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    just a quick comment from an LE, If you are going to plead the 5th, you must invoke it verbally “I choose to remain silent.” just remaining silent does not cut it. The police can continue to question you until you actively assert your rights. This comes from fairly recent case law.

    Reply

    • DaveW

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      and make sure you verbally state early, “I want my attorney now”. Do NOT consider at any point that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy until you are in the presence of your attorney and no one else. A third party present can negate the attorney client privilege.

      Twenty plus years in law enforcement and I hated the 5th Amendment. We were mandated to advise a suspect of it point by point, and all to often the investigation was immediately shut down because the suspect invoked.

      At the same time, if there was any chance you became a suspect, you were thankful to have it.

      Reply

  • M1917A1

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    ALSO have Plenty of Insurance for Self Defense when using a Firearm. I have it now and I’m going to double it ASAP. I’m currently in a “Castel Doctrine” State and the doctrine extends to your property line. My mother told me that “dead men can tell no tales”, so Center Mass, then walk’em up to the Head.

    Reply

    • will

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      Please delete this comment for your protection. If an event does arise you have to defend yourself. The investigation may and probably will find its way back to this post. Pure premeditation at its finest

      Reply

  • edree

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    I am so disappointed that our society has evolved to a point where I distrust unscrupulous police and prosecutors almost as much as I distrust lawbreakers that I must insure myself against them. I am confident that most police and prosecutors are trustworthy and reliable but the news is replete with examples of the exceptions.

    Reply

  • Joshua Sheskin Esq.,

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    As a Criminal Attorney I can not agree more that you should not be carrying a statement card.

    The best advice you will ever receive is that you have the right to remain silent and that you have the right to an attorney. It is untrue that you look guilty if you ask for a lawyer.

    As long as you make it clear that you are asserting self-defense and that you will fully cooperate once your lawyer arrives, nothing in your response can effectively be used against you.

    Remember in Florida! There is a lot that is unclear about concealed carry in the State of Florida. Remember if you are caught committing another crime and you happen to possess a concealed firearm at the time, even if it is not part of the crime, you face a ten year mandatory minimum for having had that gun. If you are carrying anything illegal, including a small amount of drugs, this law will apply, it applies to all felonies.

    I am an criminal defense attorney in the State of Florida, specifically in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties (although I will go anywhere the cases are in the State). If you have any questions about self defense carry in the State of Florida please do not hesitate to contact me at JHS@SheskinLaw.com. If for any reason you have to use your weapon feel free to call me to respond to the situation and defend you immediately at 786-529-0420.

    Reply

    • M40

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      Joshua,

      As an attorney, I suggest that you should give out business cards printed with your contact info on the front, and the following statement on the back:

      “You may have my full cooperation after I have spoken with my attorney. I have nothing further to say at this time. Please contact the attorney listed on the front of this card, and inform him that I am being held in your custody and requesting his presence.”

      This doesn’t mention anything about shooting. It has no “premeditation” effect in the statement. It cannot be construed as anything but a business card that someone had in their wallet for a constitutional attorney.

      Reply

  • Retired Spook

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    I’ve had three occasions where I had to draw my weapon against someone threatening me. Fortunately, on all three the mere presence of a firearm ended the threat without shooting anyone, an outcome that statistics show is far more likely. Each time, though, I went over (and over and over) in my mind what I would do if I had had to fire my weapon. I carry my CC permit right next to my DL for a reason. In my case, two of the incidents involved perps armed with knives, and the 3rd, a road rage incident, where the guy was coming at me with a tire iron. All three were before the era of cell phones, and, although there were no witnesses in the first two, there were plenty of witnesses in the road rage incident. It seems to me that what you say to an investigating LEO depends on the circumstances; if there are witnesses; if you are the one who called 911; if the perp is laying on the ground with a weapon in or near his hand; if the perp succeeded in injuring you before you shot him. If an investigating LEO get aggressive with questioning, and you can remain calm enough to think about it, asking him what his rights and responsibilities are following a shooting incident, and then asking him to afford you the same might be a reasonable course of action. If they get physically aggressive, throw you on the ground and handcuff you, then I think the invoking the 5th and requesting an attorney is an excellent choice.

    Reply

  • mike R

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    any news on using a weapon in self defense in OREGON!

    Reply

  • Greg

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    Read the book “After you Shoot”. None of this is cut and dried.

    Reply

  • Greg

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    I tell my wife to use the duct tape rule. Say I want to talk to my lawyer, and apply duct tape.

    Reply

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