If you read parts one and two of my ‘busted’ series, you are familiar with the consistent advice that you should never have a conversation with any game warden or law enforcement regardless of innocence or guilt. This is not an article for the paranoid or the criminal, it is just a reminder that you have a right not speak to anyone, and it is never disrespectful or rude for you to practice using your unalienable rights that are guaranteed to you in our Constitution. The best advice I have ever gotten regarding this issue is from a family friend who works for the NSA. “Speaking with law enforcement cannot help you.”
That sounded like very generic, one-sided advice that just had to have holes in it, but after decades of reflecting I have come to realize that it is solid advice. Nobody has ever talked their way out of being arrested if law enforcement has enough evidence to arrest you. So, if you are innocent that gives you an even larger reason not to talk to law enforcement. And just to be clear, most game wardens are now considered law enforcement at every level, so remember that when you think a game warden only cares about animals.
Even if you are guilty of something and you just want to get it off your chest and confess to a law enforcement officer, don’t. What’s the rush? Talk to a lawyer first so he or she can educate you on any possible facts that could get you a lesser punishment. Confessing directly to law enforcement always guarantees a harsher charge and you are actually bypassing a major part of the criminal justice system or federal wildlife management enforcement. Don’t be in a hurry. Guilt is an emotion and you should never make decisions based on emotion. Just be patient, educate yourself and then proceed forward. Never assume anyone is there to help you unless they are family or you are paying them.
Even if you are completely innocent of something and the most honest person in the world, it is impossible to tell the same story twice without changing something that could be perceived as a ‘white lie.’ Don’t take the chance.
Finally, nobody can ever keep up with every single rule and law on the books. There are literally thousands of them and some date back to over 100 years ago. Every time you leave your home you are taking the chance of accidentally breaking some sort of law. If you do not have all possible laws memorized, there is no way for you to know when you might violate an unknown law. Don’t risk your personal freedom or money by not understanding your rights.