Beat the Heat: How to Handle Encounters with Law Enforcement

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AK Press, Jan 1, 2003 - Political Science - 192 pages
3 Reviews

Saying the right thing during an encounter with the police can mean the difference between going home and going to jail. Beat the Heat gives you a set of easy-to-remember legal tactics for protecting yourself and the people you care about. Written by a criminal defense attorney, this illustrated street law manual teaches you exactly:

  • what to say if you're pulled over
  • how to read a search warrant
  • what you should know about undercover cops
  • how to handle police questioning
  • what to tell the judge to get your bail reduced
  • how to get the best work out of your lawyer

Reading this book is like getting a one-on-one coaching session with your lawyer. It's written in plain English and comes with sample documents (including warrants and subpoenas), so you can learn how to deal with them before trouble's at your door. There are special sections for minors and non-U.S. citizens, as well as a chapter on suing the police. The best part is the numerous cartoon sequences, which demonstrate how cops manipulate people they're questioning or searching and what techniques you need to win this game.

Beat the Heat was scrupulously edited by over a dozen attorneys and law professors, in addition to law enforcement officers and bail bondsmen.

"This is a book that every American should read before they find themselves in an encounter with a law enforcement agent. Such knowledge can cut back on lawyer fees, possibly reduce jail time, and can help one be an active participant in one's legal situation rather than sitting on the sidelines in a cloud of confusion during this stressful time." Johnnie Cochran, Criminal Defense Attorney

"It's extremely well done, in its informative text, and its clear, well-drawn graphics. It'll be especially helpful for young folks, of the anti-globalist and hip-hop generation, who often have few ways to learn about the pitfalls of the system (other than the unfortunate obvious way)." Mumia Abu Jamal, Author and Political Prisoner

"Beat the Heat is a great urban survival kit: it provides simple, direct tactics for preserving basic constitutional rights on the street, and precise, valid legal information for victims of police abuse." Tony Serra, Criminal Defense Attorney

"Beat the Heat is a crucial resource for communities of color. To fight back against police abuse and discrimination in the courts, people have got to know their legal rights and that information is in this book." Van Jones, Executive Director, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

"This book will help keep more of our brothers and sisters in the community, instead of sitting in cages watching the prison industry's profits grow. Read it, use it, pass it on." Zack de la Rocha, Singer/Songwriter, Rage Against the Machine

 

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User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I love the United States Constitution, I know my rights, and I know how to use them.
This is a terrific little book. Nothing has changed in the 10 years it's been out, except that maybe it's even
more important, now that police abuses are all over the place, to know how to act and what to say if you are ever pulled over.  

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This book is so ideal. This is a lot like Nolo Press’s Criminal Law Handbook, which I have been ever so fond of. Both of these books were written in wonderful styles and this book has even more edge to it than the Nolo book. This book is written in a more anti-authoritarian tone than the Nolo book and I liked that. This book further inspires me to dedicate myself to advance my rights and I love it for that.
The book clarified the issue about ID which didn’t seem so clear in the Nolo book, and I left with the conviction that name and address are all that you need tell. Clearing that up was wonderful.
The section on minors was enlightening. The book even suggested that minors can refuse searches and even includes something to post on a door. The book is very good at having forms in it and I hope to copy them for my own use.
The book went into better detail than even the wonderful Nolo Book about how to document an event and even included great forms with it as templates. This section also made me feel better. Since I have trouble describing incidents, especially in regard to sequence of events, the book’s observations that people don’t remember so well and especially major events, made me feel better. One might be inclined to think that some major event would be all the more easy to remember, but this book suggests that such is not the case. The book did a wonderful job walking the reader through filling a misconduct form, as it broke it down into the steps, so it was as clear as could be.
I liked the use of cartoons to show applications of these principles.
On page 148, the book discusses that police review is often an empty procedure. My level of cynicism has lead me to believe that such is futile, especially after reading Nolo works and other works about it. Now I think this even more so.
The biographical sketch of the author was also interesting. It says she was an activist who got thrown in prison and is now a lawyer. Although I am generally not fond of lawyers, former activist lawyers are inspiring and it’s wonderful this author is using her legal talents for good, and it is reassuring that she writes as some who knows what it is like to be an activist or otherwise disliked by cops. Many people just don’t understand how this feels. She had some good words on how the courts dislike pro se lawyers and unfortunately she insinuated that representing oneself is not so good.
 

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
SAFETY TACTICS DURING ARREST
11
USING THE RIGHTS TO REMAIN SILENT AND TO SEE
17
RESISTING INTERROGATION
55
PROBATION PAROLE AND SUPERVISED RELEASE
67
UNDERCOVER OFFICERS INFORMANTS
75
DEALING WITH ARREST WARRANTS AND SEARCH
81
WARRANTLESS SEARCHES
105
SURVEILLANCE
111
GRAND JURIES
115
RIGHTS OF MINORS
122
GETTING OUT OF JAIL WHILE YOUR CASE IS PENDING
131
REPORTING POLICE MISCONDUCT
137
WORKING EFFECTIVELY WITH LAWYERS
165
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Katya Komisaruk applied to law school while serving a five year prison sentence for civil disobedience. She graduated from Harvard Law School cum laude in 1993, and has been a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer for over a decade.

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