After the release of his 12th studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay-Z has shown that longevity and commercial success is possible in Hip-Hop. Not only that, but this rapper turned business man has triumphed where many other emcees have faltered: Corporate America. As a cultural icon, there is little Jay can do to steer you wrong… Except in the realm of legal advice. Here are 5 things you shouldn’t do when you’re pulled over. (Lyrics are from Jay-Z’s controversial Rick Rubin-produced single “99 Problems” off The Black Album).
1.) “I got two choices yall, pull over the car or/ Bounce on the Devil, put the pedal to the floor…”
Jay paints a dope mental picture of his encounter with the law on “99 Problems”. However in his opening bars, he explains that he thought about trying to escape a traffic stop. In the state of NJ, where the actual police stop occurred, eluding police via motor vehicle is third or second degree indictable offense (felony). Unless you’re moving cartel weight, you’re better off pulling over.
2.) “So I, pull over to the side of the road, I heard, ‘Son do you know why I’m stopping you for’/Cause I’m young and I’m black and my hat’s real low/Do I look like a mind reader sir, I don’t know…”
Negative. No matter how ill your feelings are towards law enforcement, you never give them shaft. When asked if you are aware of why you’ve been stopped, always answer no. Be calm and confident, but not arrogant or malicious. At the end of the day, they have the badge and the gun and it’s your word against theirs… which usually doesn’t end favorably.
American Beau Tip: Begin an audio recording on your cell phone the moment you are pulled over.
3.) “’Are you carrying a weapon on you? I know a lot of you are’/I ain’t stepping out of shit, all my paper’s legit…”
A Drug Courier Profile is a set of characteristics that law enforcement uses to justify stops on citizens to find illicit drugs. According to the Supreme Court, this is legal under the Constitution. Yep, racial profiling is legal. America FTW. As upsetting as that is, if you feel you are being stopped due to racial profiling (as Jay was), cursing at an officer is a sure-fired way to get charged with anything they can possibly hit you with.
4.) “‘Well, do you mind if I look around the car a little bit?’/Well, my glove compartment is locked, so is the trunk in the back and I know my rights, so you gon’ need a warrant for that…”
Locking your glove compartment is a good move. And yes, you can legally deny an officer the right to search your vehicle. But, 9-times-out-of-10 they will make you sit and wait for them to attain a warrant to grant a search. And in most areas, they can attain one 24 –hours a day. If they find any contraband after you’ve denied a search, you’re likely to receive very little leeway.
American Beau Tip: If they don’t ask you for permission to search, its best to remain quiet and allow the search because anything they find will not be admissible in the court of law.
5.) “‘Aren’t you sharp as a tack, you some type of lawyer or something, somebody important or something’/Well, I ain’t passed the bar but I know a little bit/Enough that you won’t illegally search my shit…”
This is one of the most quotable lines from this verse. However, being well versed in knowing your civil liberties at a motor vehicle stop may not help you much. If an officer is violating you rights, he knows exactly what he is doing. While it is good to know that your rights are being violated, having a young adult point that out to a cop will only infuriate them. It will help you little during the encounter, but can definitely aid you afterwards. For an example of the above reasoning, click here.
American Beau Tip: Always get an officer’s badge number.