What is below should not be construed as legal advice. I am not an attorney or a para-legal. With some research and my past experience as a HazMat regulatory compliance inspector for a large California County, I have learned a few things relative to interacting with Government Representatives. What follows merely is the exercise of free speech and the opinion of a sovereign individual.
Unless you are a known lawbreaker, or there is a warrant for your arrest, or Martial Law has been declared, or you are blatantly and obviously breaking the law at the moment, a Government Representative (Rep) cannot force you to do anything. For example, when I went to inspect a business that fell under HazMat regulations, by law I had to ask permission to inspect the premises of that business. If the business owner/manager refused me permission, I then had a few options. 1) Return to the agency office, jump through some hoops, obtain an Inspection Warrant, snag a Peace Officer, and return to the business that refused my entry. 2) Come back another day; perhaps the owner/manager was merely in a bad mood. 3) Come back during the next inspection cycle for that area, which in the case of my employment was over a year away. Can you guess which option I chose in the rare case of being refused entry to a business? In seven years at that particular job, I NEVER obtained even one inspection warrant.
Contrary to popular opinion, regulatory Government Reps who work in the field have a tremendous workload. Their situation is made even worse by all the data that they have to enter into a computer each day. Although it does happen, in my opinion it would be a very rare instance in which a Government inspector would take the time to obtain an Inspection Warrant.
When it comes to Government Forms, here are some legitimate questions that can be asked by the individual being "required" to submit the Form---
1. Is the filling out of this Form required by Law or Regulation, or is it merely a procedure developed by your office? If it is required by Law or Regulation, can you please send me a copy of same with the appropriate section highlighted?
2. What Common Law rights am I waiving by signing this Form? [Whenever you sign ANY Government Form, directly beneath your signature write, "All Rights Reserved".]
3. What happens if I don't sign this Form?
4. . Is this a transaction involving a security interest? [It is, and your consent is required…unless a Court orders you to fill out the Form. You are providing information that it would be best to keep secure---address, date of birth, Social Security number, various types of business information, etc.]
5. Is your agency ordering me to fill out this Form?
Should you receive a copy of a specific Law or Regulation that supposedly applies to you or your business, and if you wish the discussion to continue, it can do so almost endlessly. That's because most all Statutory Laws (or Regulations, which are Administrative Laws) are extremely complex, convoluted, and technical. You have every right to ask, "What does this word mean?", or, "What does this sentence mean?".
There is nothing dishonorable about asking these questions. Government Representatives and Agencies often assume that citizens will view requests to fill out Forms as "orders", not what they really are---offers to avoid conflict. They make that assumption because most citizens DO see "requests" to fill out Forms as "orders". Unless you have broken the law already, or are obviously breaking it at the present moment, no Government Rep can order you to do anything...a Court can, but not a Rep. If a Rep does, and you wish to comply simply to avoid conflict, have the Representative put it in the Record that you are complying "under protest and duress, with all rights reserved".
Some may see all of the above as frivolous, but to anyone concerned with Liberty (and Government abuse of same) it is important to keep Government Reps---and the endless paper Forms of agencies---within proper bounds.
Dealing with Peace Officers really is a separate issue, and will be dealt with in a separate article.