ACLU Statement on State Patty’s Day


State Patty’s Day is around the corner and the police will be out in force. The police will not be issuing citations and will arrest everyone. Pre-trial diversion programs will be in effect and police will seek maximum penalties.

This is a wonderful opportunity to brush up on your civil rights skills. Remember:

1. You have the right not to answer any questions asked by the police other than your name. Don’t say something like “I know my rights, yo! I don’t have to talk to you!” Politely tell the police that you wish to remain silent and answer any questions or requests with “Am I free to go?”

2. The police may not enter your house or apartment or dorm room without a warrant or your consent. Do not give them your consent. If the police are at your door, always speak to them outside. Do not allow them to take a peek inside your apartment from the door. If they choose to enter without your consent, do not resist, but say firmly “I do not consent to this search.”

3. You do not have to show your ID to the police.

4. If you are arrested, you have a right to a lawyer and a trial. Do not allow the police to bully or pressure you to sign away your rights or agree to a plea bargain without talking to a lawyer first. If you cannot afford a lawyer, say so and one will be provided.

5. Never lie to the Police, just remain SILENT!

What to say when speaking with Police:

  •  “I wish to remain silent.” (do not incriminate yourself)
  •  “Am I being detained?” (if you are not being detained then the conversation is over, but just in case say the next line)
  •  “Am I free to go?” (if yes, then leave)
  • “I do not consent.” (use this at all times when the Police do something that you do not agree with ex: They search you even after you say no).

Always be polite, say as little as you can, sign nothing and do your best to avoid the police. The police are out to bust you, and you gain nothing by helping them.

If students’ rights are violated please have them contact the ACLU Club [email protected].

We are not lawyers nor will we be providing any legal service.


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  1. I don’t know about PA, but in New Jersey, the police can enter a residence without a warrant if they go to a house and see underage drinking going on (since that is considered a crime in progress). Be smart kids.

  2. If the police have reason to suspect illegal activity they have a right to enter. Dear dear ACLU, why would you promote underage drinking? Why would you promote illegal activity? Do you really choose to ignore the unhealthy, dangerous activities of these children who act like they were suddenly released from their cages and are free? I have witnessed these “intelligent young men and women” stumbling around in the middle of traffic, stepping out in front of moving vehicles, hanging over third, forth, fifth floor balcony ledges! Really intelligent, isn’t it! And you fear the police are ” out to arrest you”. Maybe the police are really ” OUT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE!

    • NOWHERE does this say to refuse police entry; it merely states that you should verbally state that you do not consent. This is entirely correct, and it is exactly what every decent lawyer in the country would tell you. If they’re going to search, they’re going to search — but by stating your lack of consent clearly it means that, should this go to trial, they will need to provide some kind of evidence to justify the legality of their search. If you say nothing, they will often claim that you implicitly consented even if they never asked. That argument has held up in court in the past. In order to retain your fourth amendment rights, you MUST state that you do not consent!

      They do not promote illegal activity; they promote exercising basic constitutional rights. The State College police care about NOTHING but cashflow. I’ve been given field sobriety tests where the police flat-out told me that the SOLE reason for giving the test was because I didn’t remove my sunglasses until asked. I didn’t try to refuse, I just didn’t think to do it until he asked. It was noon, in July, with not a single cloud in the sky…wearing sunglasses is hardly suspicious under those circumstances. Meanwhile, a few months later I witnessed a student hit by a car while crossing Beaver ave…there were three witnesses there, and we were standing with this kid, his face literally covered and dripping blood, clothes ripped…and three borough police cruisers drove right past, at least one MADE DIRECT EYE CONTACT while we tried to flag them down…not a single one stopped until our 911 call went through. I’ve also seen fully sober students threatened with disorderly conduct for calmly asking what was going on upon seeing a group of officers surrounding a single female student, sitting on the sidewalk crying.

      If my four years at Penn State taught me anything, it was that the police don’t give a shit about you; they don’t give a shit about safety; they’re only there to try to get the big money citations.

    • We do not promote underage drinking. We are promoting civil rights. The police are free to bust anyone for any crime that they see, but they must do it legally.

  3. OH COME ON – this is posted by the “PSU ACLU Club,” not the ACLU. Honestly the ACLU has real civil liberties issues that it is concerned about.I have not seen anywhere where the actual ACLU is endorsing comments on how underage drunk and disorderly students should respond to the police. If so, please provide some evidence that is how the ACLU is actually using its national funding and support for such guidance. The real ACLU is made up of lawyers who do provide legal advice. That is not the same as a local PSU “club.”

  4. It’s amazing how basic these rights are, yet how easily they’re ignored by the people that claim to be keeping things in order.

    For the record. Yes, it’s illegal for the cops to do all of these things. However, they will fuck you over worse in court if you refuse to do these basic actions in real life situations. Ask anyone who’s been there. For example, if you refuse entry to a cop they will figure out a way to legally or illegally get in and bust you for something. Anything. It doesn’t matter. On a whim, they can say you’re being disorderly or your apartment has a bong or a beer or sub-standard shower units.

    The short answer? Avoid anything that will get you in trouble in any way. Not a very helpful guideline but it’s the reality for you guys.

    The shorter answer? Fuck the university, fuck the town, and fuck the cops.

    This university, this town, and these cops do a lot of things right. But in the middle of nowhere Pennslyvania with nothing better to do, they pick on the kids who celebrate with pride by wearing green one single day during the year.

    Is that what will give them satisfaction at the end of the day? Handing out citations to great students who will represent the university in REAL LIFE for the rest of their lives? Reducing the university and town to a Nazi state (because as many times as people have said I can’t help but agree with the phrase) ?

    If I was there, I’d be giving the Endzone a lot of love tomorrow.