Last month, a federal appeals court ruled that innocent behaviors -- including driving with a "stiff" posture and acting nervous when stopped on the highway by police -- can be used as probable cause to detain and search a U.S. citizen.
Cindy Lee Westhoven was arrested in 2012 after cops found marijuana in her vehicle. In USA v. Cindy Lee Westhoven, the woman argued that the evidence of marijuana should be suppressed because Border Patrol Agents did not have probable cause to detain her or search her car. However, the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that though Westhoven's actions "may be consistent with innocent travel … taken together they [may] amount to reasonable suspicion."
The ruling might leave the average citizen wondering, "How can I make sure the cops leave me alone?" Luckily, we here at HuffPost Crime have compiled a helpful list of tips to make sure you're able to stay on the right side of the law.
1. Don't Get Acne
If decreased self-esteem, dating stress and hundreds of dollars spent on useless skin treatments weren't bad enough, your acne can now be used against you by law enforcement officials.
In USA v. Cindy Lee Westhoven, Border Patrol Agents argued that a combination of "suspicious" factors led them to detain Cindy Westhoven and ultimately search her vehicle. One of the factors was that "Ms. Westhoven appeared to have scarring and acne on her right cheek, indicating to [an agent] she might be a methamphetamine user."
2. Don't Use Soap
If acne is enough to render you suspicious in the eyes of the law, you should always have some soap on hand to combat oily skin, right?
Apparently not. In December, a man and woman from New York were pulled over by state troopers in Pennsylvania and accused of transporting bricks of cocaine. The woman insisted the bricks were homemade soap, but the pair was thrown in jail on cocaine-trafficking charges anyway. They spent one month behind bars before test results came back that proved the white bricks were indeed soap.
3. Don't Eat Candy
Once you've taken the soap out of your bag, don't fill that empty space with candy. Last year, two New York City men were arrested after NYPD officers found six Jolly Ranchers in their pockets. The officers believed the candies were meth rocks and locked the men up on drug possession charges. The charges were dropped after the Jolly Ranchers tested negative for drugs, but not before the pair spent 24 hours in jail.
4. Don't Take The Bus
If you're a candy-eating, soap-using, greasy-faced punk, it's understandable that you may want to avoid the risk of getting your car searched and just take the bus. But don't be so quick to take public transportation.
In December, three teenagers in Rochester, N.Y. were handcuffed and arrested on disorderly conduct charges because they were allegedly blocking pedestrian traffic while waiting for a school bus to take them to a basketball game.
5. Don't Be A Tight-Ass
Are all these rules making you a little anxious? Don't show it, and definitely don't display your nervousness by clenching your butt.
Last November, a New Mexico man had to undergo three enemas, a colonoscopy, an X-ray and multiple cavity searches because he appeared to be "clenching his buttocks" after an officer ordered him to step out of his vehicle. No illegal drugs were ever found.
Now get out there, dear readers, you should be fine.
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
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Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
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