Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What do you do if Law Enforcement wants to search your car?

When a police officer asks for your consent to search your vehicle, your house, or your body what do you do? What goes through your mind? I mean whether or not you have anything illegal on or around you become almost a secondary issue, the fact of the matter is of NO, of course you don’t want him to search you! Actually, you probably don’t even want him around you at all! Oh, and by the way, you may have something that’s a little illegal on you too. Still, what do you do? You think to yourself, “I can’t tell him no, he might arrest me! But, I can’t tell him yes either, he’ll DEFINITELY arrest me!!! So WHAT DO YOU DO?
                Let’s say that you are riding along in your car and you get pulled over. The police officer makes the regular requests for license and registration. He takes the license and registration and then asked you a few more questions. You are as paranoid as one can be, but you answer the questions cautiously and he or she seems satisfied. He then walks back to his car and is gone for about 20 minutes. You are nervous and anxious and cannot understand what it is taking so long for him to return your identification and send you on your way. Suddenly, you see another patrol car rounding the corner and park immediately behind your police officer’s patrol car. Uh-oh… Back-up. This is bad. Both officers come up to the driver’s side of your car; they ask you to step outside the car. Once you step outside of the car, they ask the magic question: “Do you mind if we take a look in your car?”
     In my professional opinion, there is never EVER a good time to consent to a search of your car. However, you do need to always be friendly, polite, and respectful to police officers. When the police officer asks for your consent to search your car, you say the following, “While I do respect your authority as a police officer, my attorney has requested that I never consent to a search of my vehicle. Therefore at this moment in time, I am not going to consent to a search of my vehicle. Further, my attorney has asked me to contact her immediately if I am ever stopped by police. So at this point officer, I would like to ask for your permission to call my attorney. My attorney is _______” If the police still insist on searching you vehicle after you have expressly denied him consent to search, chances are, unless he had some sort of strong identifiable probably cause, like a strong scent of drugs in the car or the scent of a dead body, anything illegal that he finds in the car will be the result of an illegal search and therefore not admissible in a Court of Law. The prosecutor will have a hard time moving forward with the charge if he or she is able to speak to the jury about the illegal substance that you are alleged to have possessed

1 comment:

  1. Now if a police officer searches your vehicle AFTER you've been arrested, that's different situation entirely!