No you may not Search my Vehicle Officer – July 14, 2015
If you are detained and searched by law enforcement, whether it be for a DUI, Drug related charge, or routine traffic stop, you do have the right to refuse the search. It is important to clearly state to the arresting or investigating officer that you do not consent to the search, however, you should only verbally refuse the search and never physically resist. Merely touching an officer can result in you getting beaten or worse. A physical altercation with a police officer could also result in a felony charge for assaulting a police officer – so please, no touching.
During a traffic stop police are allowed to order the driver and any accompanying passengers out of a vehicle. If the law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion to detain you, they may search your person for weapons – only if the suspect you are concealing a weapon.
Typically, law enforcement will ask you a series of seemingly harmless questions, such as, “You don’t mind if I have a look in your car?” This question is one of the tactics used by law enforcement officers to gain consent to search you and your vehicle/property – when most people hear these types of questions they think it is a command, however, in most cases the judicial system views this as a request. Some officers may try and make an individual feel as if they need to prove their innocence, and ask such questions as “if you don’t have anything on you, why can’t I search your vehicle?” This is a trick by law enforcement – if necessary, repeat your refusal and remain calm.
The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution affords you the right refuse such search requests, however, this right does not require law enforcement to inform you of your right to refuse. It is important to understand that consenting to searches automatically makes them legal in the eyes of the Court. Despite what law enforcement might say, in general, you always have the right to refuse searches in a calm and peaceful manner.
Refusing a police officer’s request to search you or your property is not an admission of guilt and does not give the officer the legal right to search or detain you. In a large number of cases the police have no probable cause to search an individual or their property, however, many individuals consent to searches by law enforcement because the police use tactics that are designed to trick or intimidate individuals into consenting to search requests.
If you do not consent or refuse to a police search, and law enforcement finds illegal items on your person or property, a skilled criminal defense lawyer can file a Motion to Suppress (move to have said evidence not allowed to be entered in the case against you). If the Judge finds the officer’s search violated the 4th Amendment, and does not meet the probable cause requirements, the Motion may be granted. If the Prosecuting Attorney does have any other evidence against you, your charges will most likely be dismissed.
For these reasons, it is important to have an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer defending your Constitutional Rights. At Hanna & Ruud, LLC, our attorneys practice almost exclusively in criminal law, and have nearly 60 years in combined experience in Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, and Scott Counties. Located in downtown Moline, Illinois and serving the Quad Cities. If your freedom is in jeopardy, “Results Count, and Experience is Priceless”
This blog entry, nor is any other information for on this website, is not intended as legal advise. Please view our Disclaimer. At Hanna & Ruud, LLC we understand that choosing an Attorney is an important decision and such a decision should not be made solely on the contents of this website.
By: Hanna & Ruud, LLC Attorneys at Law
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