Know Your Legal Rights

By: Matthew Dietz

On Saturday, September 20th, I had the opportunity to put on my professor hat and teach Criminal Procedure 101 to a very eager class of persons at the University of Miami. No, not for law students at the Law School, but instead for a class teens and young adults who have Autism and their parents.

A systemic problem in our community, and communities throughout the United States, is that police do not identify that certain behaviors of Autistic people are not indicative of criminal behavior. Disability Independence Group, UM/NSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities and Lt. Bart Barta of the Coral Gables Police Department developed a program to assist both Autistic people to self-identify when encountering a police person, and the police in how to identify a person who may have Autism. The seminar is just one part of the program, and the other portion is a video that presents scenarios that may occur in police interactions and a wallet card that an Autistic person can use as a tool to self-identify to the police. For more information, please go to our website at