BDSM Education- Tips for dealing with Law Enforcement

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People don't want to think about their BDSM activities and the possibilities of having a run in with the legal world.  I am not an attorney and I am not offering formal legal advice with this article.  The information in this article is to get you researching the laws and legal system in your area, as well as your rights and seeking out legal advice.  Every county, state and country have their own laws.  Keep in mind laws change quickly so you need to make sure you have the correct information.  You are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding your particular legal issues. 

All too often BDSM is used against people.  Child custody, divorce and domestic violence pops to mind.  Some folks think that the risk only occurs if they are out in public or at a play party, sad fact is risk can occur in the privacy of your home thanks to an overzealous neighbor.  Yes the risk is less in your own home but the possibility is there all the time.  Assault, rape, sodomy, reckless endangerment, illegal weapons, false imprisonment (bondage) or illegal toys pop to mind.  

In public if you are into uniforms you might be nailed with impersonating a fire or police officer or military personal, don't add to the risk by putting a fake weapon in a holster.  

Knives can be considered a weapon so check the law about blade size and carrying.  Needles for temp piercings might be considered drug paraphernalia.  Have a concealed weapon permit before carrying a licensed and registered weapon.  We do not imply endorsement or validity of the information found on these web sites.  We provide these links for your convenience.  For state and federal knife lawshttp://pweb.netcom.com/~brlevine/sta-law.htm   http://www.cristosblades.com/map.html  Canada: http://lois.justice.gc.ca/en/  

Indecent exposure or lewd conduct, assault, sodomy, oral contact with genital or anal area, or having a dildo or vibrator or other sexual toys all can be violations in the right circumstances and locations.  

If you or a play space advertise or promote safety you could become a guarantor of whatever you promise.  Both the play space and you need to inform people that you TRY to maintain safety of their play but they are responsible for their own safety.  

Someone that calls the police because they don't think what you are doing is consensual can turn your life upside down.  

A Few Tips if Dealing with Police

Do not talk with the police as they will be attempting to get information from you to use against you to convict you.  Tell them right away "I want an attorney."  No small talk, no friendly chat NOTHING.  Remember the police can lie to you and say things to trick you.  Remember if they knew the information they wouldn't be talking to you.  Giving them information NEVER makes things easier for you.

At times they will do what is known as good cop/bad cop.  One officer tries to be nice and act like your friend and the other acts mean and tells you all the bad that is going to happen to you.  Just keep telling them "I want an attorney."

The police officer is required to give you a receipt for anything he takes away from you.  You only need to give your name and address and show identification if asked.  Don't sign any confessions, if you can don't sign ANYTHING.  Keep telling the police officers "I want an attorney."

The police are knocking on my door what do I do?  

You don't have to open the door.  But keep in mind if the police think someone is in immediate danger they might kick your door in.  

If you do open the door you do not have to allow the police in your home without a search warrant.  The same goes for searching your vehicle, you are not required to consent to a search.  Tell them any of the following: "no you do not have my permission to enter," "no you do not have my permission to search," "I want you to leave now," "I do not consent to your entry and do not waive my privacy rights as set forth by the 4th amendment."  If they return with a search warrant make sure you see and read the warrant BEFORE the search begins.  Tell them again you do not agree to the search.  If you can, get a lawyer there before the warrant arrives.  Of course there are exceptions to the above so check the laws regarding things where you are located.  You should make every effort to get your BDSM toys/equipment into some locked container and out of sight or outta there.  KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT-If you two tell the officers you were doing consensual things with the toys 9 times out of 10 they will assume denial of domestic abuse.  The fact you admit to it being consensual means little.  

Never obstruct an officer if they are determined to enter your home and search even if you have not consented.  But be sure and loudly say you do not consent.  "I don't consent to you entering"  If they enter anyway repeat "I don't consent to you entering, I will not obstruct you."

Try to not panic, speak softly, calmly and explain to the police it was just sex noises that were pretty loud or that the screaming was from enjoyment and it's all consensual.  Use the prejudices of the police to your favor.  Most show up assuming the woman is being the one being assaulted so let her speak softly and calmly and let her state you were having "wild sex" or "kinky sex".  DO NOT use BDSM, S/m or any other variant.  If pressed for details be polite but decline to describe your activity, it's private and only your business.  If you are a same sex couple police really don't want to get involved.  Don't let the police violate your privacy or allow them to persuade you to allow a body inspection beyond what you are willing to show, stick to face and arms in general if at all.

Hopefully they will accept your answer and go away.  

Remember the crack of a singletail can sound like a gun shot to someone not familiar with the sound.  Hand spanking can sound like someone getting beat up or battered to someone not familiar with the sound.  You might want to soundproof your home to reduce the noisy neighbor calling you in for domestic violence.  Keep in mind some locations have mandatory arrest laws for a domestic violence call.

If they feel compelled to arrest you--KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.  Ask for an attorney-"I want an attorney."  Anything you say WILL BE used against you if you voluntarily say anything.  It doesn't matter if what you say is at your home, on the street, in the middle of a field.  The officer is obligated to tell you why you are being arrested and read you your rights (Miranda).  The police officer is required to give you a receipt for anything he takes away from you.  You only need to give your name and address and show identification if asked.  Don't sign any confessions.  The officers may even try to get you to confess and intimidate you by claiming it will be easier if you confess now rather than later.  Ask to call an attorney right away- "I want to call an attorney."  You have the right to make at least 3 phone calls within three hours of being arrested.  You may also have to tell the officer you choose to remain silent until you speak with an attorney or "I claim my Miranda rights" or "I don't have anything to say" and "I want an attorney."  Remember the officers will try pretty hard to get you to say something that can justify arresting you or later be used against you in court.  Get the officer's name and badge number.  Be sure to remember if they read your rights or not.  Just because they didn't read you your rights doesn't mean your case will be thrown out.  Officers CAN'T offer deals BUT they CAN LIE to you.  They might even tell you they are going to arrest you just to see if you will confess.  KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.

As soon as possible write down the officers names and badge numbers and the facts and give a copy of this to your attorney ASAP.

If they book you there is a likelihood of having to remove all your piercings, collars and jewelry.  Remember they are required to give you a receipt for anything they take away from you.

They Are Searching Me

Police can frisk you, if they ask to search you tell them "no."  If they search you anyways as the officer is doing so tell them "I don't consent to you searching me."  Ask for their name and badge number as they are searching you and remember it so your attorney can use it later to file a complaint.  Remember the search can only be a gentle pat down on the outside of your clothing, anything else is not allowed.

Play Spaces

The equipment used provided by the play space breaks and someone gets injured.  A civil suit could be brought for providing faulty equipment or failing to maintain it.  The entity that set up the equipment will probably be liable for the injuries.  Make sure the equipment is inspected and maintained and local fire codes are met and you have exit signs that are well lit.  

I signed a waiver and got injured what can I do?  

In general you can't waive your right of liability for someone else's negligence away.  But waivers can show that you assumed the risk of participating and there were risks, especially if the waiver lists the potential/specific risks.  

Play spaces should have premise insurance to cover liability, faulty equipment and other issues.

The above is not offering formal legal advice, seek independent counsel for advice regarding your rights, legal issues and laws.

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ntil the Department of Justice obscenity prosecutions become more clearly defined we are self-censoring our web site and removing any material that might be questionable in eyes of the anti-obscenity squad.  We certain hope that DOJ does not mix/confuse education sites with obscenity. 

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