Welcome to Day 5 of this six-day series on the simple things people can do to stay out of the magistrates court.

In this series, I’ll show you everyday mistakes people are making which are costing them money, points on their licence, and/or unnecessary criminal convictions.

Today, I’m talking about how to avoid talking yourself into an arrest.

This behaviour is sometimes also known as, “contempt of cop”.

Picking your battles

Some things are a matter of principle – and I’m here on your side to fight that injustice when it arises.

Say, for example, you’re delivering food and medicine to your elderly mother. She can’t get a delivery and she’s desperate. You’re only helping when the coronacops follow you to your mother’s drive – where they taze and arrest you without you having a chance to say a word.

I get that. I would feel aggrieved, too – and that’s a court battle I’d want to fight.

What I’m talking about are situations where you are escalating a police encounter from 0.5 to 9 on the drama scale simply to “win” a pointless argument.

Boxing yourself into a corner – a hypothetical for your consideration

What if you’re in Clissold Park, sitting on a park bench, reading a newspaper when you are approached by the police.

The officer asks you what you’re doing, and you say, “exercising my mind”.

Because you believe the regulation 6(2) term, “exercise” could have a much broader definition than this officer thinks applies, you pursue the point with the officer – for 30-45 minutes.

The officer directs you to go home. You refuse. The officer says that you are leaving them with no alternative but to physically remove you and take you home. The matter descends from there and you are arrested.

Really?

Is this the hill you’re ready to die on?

Will you still want to be debating your right to, “exercise your mind” in a public park during a national lockdown when the magistrates courts open up again?

But Kris, you say, “A Human Rights lawyer on Twitter says that this is a fascinating lacuna in the law and he thinks I have a great point”!

All I have to say to that is, “How much time, money and emotional energy would sitting in a jail cell and/or preparing for a Magistrates Court/Crown Court/High Court/Court of Appeal/Supreme Court/Strasbourg appearance drain from your life“?

Suddenly, the police encounter you thought would be YouTube worthy 45 minutes ago isn’t cute and clever anymore.

Imagine if instead of debating with the officer, you simply said, “You may have a point” and moved on?

Your encounter with the police officer would have remained at 0.5 on the drama scale – and both you and the officer will have forgotten about this – rather than reliving this – when the courts open up again.

My simple tip

Albert Einstein once said, “A clever person solves a problem; a wise person avoids it”. Do you really need to move the needle on the drama scale? It is always less costly to avoid police drama wherever possible.