Originally Posted by Brennan
For all we know, the cop was going to issue a warning. But we'll never know because the cyclist decided to be argumentative and refused to identify himself. So what could have been a warning, or at worst a citation with the right to dispute it in court, instead ended up as several hours in lockup. Now please understand I'm not trying to be an apologist for overzealous enforcement. I'm just trying to illustrate the best way to navigate the legal system as it exists. Learn the law and assert your rights, such as the right to remain silent or the right to refuse a request for a search, but also comply with lawful orders from a police officer, such as an order to identify yourself (depending on your locality). This is the best way to protect yourself and to avoid unpleasant outcomes such as this one. Even if a cop is out of line (perhaps especially if a cop is out of line) being argumentative and uncooperative will make things worse for you in a hurry, as the cyclist in the article found out. Again, not saying it's right. I'm saying it's the reality we face. The best place to make your case is in a court of law where a judge is in charge. The worst place to make it is on the street where the cop is in charge.
Actually both places are good to 'make your case'. But you also have to make the right case for each place.
Trying to play Lawyer with the police is usually just a way to escalate things. Saying you are sorry and perhaps claiming in a non-argumentative way that you were unaware of the law can easily mean you never have to go to court.
I remember long ago I 'argued' my way out of a ticket. That is if you count saying 'No, Sir' when the CHP Sargent asked if I had $40 to throw away and saying 'Yes, sir' when said 'Then Slow down'. One important thing there is I was just speeding on a pretty open freeway, no lane changing to go ever faster. There is a similar dividing line for riding on the sidewalk. Just doing the last block of a ride at a walking pace because that is easier is far different from riding at peed on the sidewalk.
If it was the later I have no qualms with the cop having one in with the decision to cite all but set in stone.