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  • Writer's pictureRalph C. Buss

Your rights - right at your fingertips: Rider's Rights Handbook

Updated: Aug 31, 2020


Know your rights!

By Motorcycle Attorney Ralph C. Buss, Esq.

Ignorantia legis neminem excusat is Latin for “ignorance of the law excuses no one,” often shortened to “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

It’s a phrase we’ve all likely heard at one time or another, most likely from a law enforcement type, a prosecutor, or a judge. So it stands to reason that the more you know about the law, and especially about your rights under the law, the better off you’ll be when faced with allegations by one of these kinds of folks. And - trust me - I know. As a motorcycle injury lawyer and criminal justice attorney, I’ve seen hundreds of cases where this phrase comes into play.

That’s why The Law Offices of Ralph Buss, under special license from our friend and author, Ghost, distributes the Rider’s Rights Handbook. It’s a concise but potentially invaluable overview of several key rights to which each and every American is entitled.

The handbook provides a crash course and ready reference to Constitutional guarantees, outlined in the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution) that are especially valuable to motorcyclists, namely the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments - in other words: our right to keep and bear arms, our right to a reasonable expectation of privacy and protection from illegal search and seizure, our right to avoid self-incrimination, and our right to a prompt and public trial by an impartial jury.

“In a society guided by the rule of law, there exists a struggle between the rights of society as determined by the police and the rights of individuals within that society,” reads the introduction to the Rider’s Rights Handbook. “In any given situation within this dynamic – over a stop, a search, an arrest, a surveillance, a seizure, or an interrogation – the advantage will go to the party who knows the rights and obligations of the respective actors.”

That’s why I decided to make this illuminating publication available to my clients, riders in general, and anyone else interested in protecting themselves with some of the same knowledge this longtime personal injury lawyer has used over the years to help thousands of clients.

It’s important to me to help spread this kind of knowledge because you can’t exercise your rights if you don’t know what they are.

“Perhaps nowhere is the playing field of knowledge less level,” the handbook continues. “Police, prosecutors, and private investigators are well trained, and that training is updated and reinforced. They know their rights and what they can and cannot do.”

Law Enforcement Officers have power and authority. Certainly, with the events following September 11, 2001, and the enactment later that year of the Patriot Act, that power and authority has increased.

“Members of the public, on the other hand, are not provided lessons on, and generally know little about, their rights and obligations. Investigators use – and from time to time misuse – this advantage,” the Rider’s Rights Handbook reads. “ People talk to the authorities when they should use their right to remain silent. People consent to searches when they should refuse. These protections are in place to protect you. In order to preserve, protect, and defend one’s place in a society guided by the rule of law, a person must know what the rule of law is.”

As any criminal justice attorney will likely tell you, the overall relationship between the police and the public is even more complicated today. Between concerns and debate over the COVID-19 pandemic and ever-increasing tensions regarding race, equality, and free speech, there’s never been a better time to know your rights. The Rider’s Rights Handbook attempts to level the playing field by setting out the law as it pertains to criminal and civil investigations. It also provides practical guidance for situations that frequently arise.

Referencing court cases and legal citations, the Handbook explains your rights in a no-nonsense, straightforward manner. And it’s all contained in an easy-to-pocket handbook you can reference anywhere, anytime.

Hundreds of copies of the Rider’s Rights Handbook have already been distributed at meetings and events, through my law office, and in cooperation with the Confederations of Clubs in several states. To get your copy, stop by our booth at a nearby event, cruise by my office at 168 E. High St. in Painesville, Ohio, or call (800) 582-5577.

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