First lessons first: You don’t have to allow a search


August 23, 2012 by williamsjustliving

I can’t say this enough. You don’t have to give permission for the police to search your car when you’ve been pulled over. In order to search your car, an officer has to have “probable cause.” This basically means that the officer must have a reasonable and able to be stated reason to suspect that you are involved in criminal activity or that you are carrying illegal items.

So, you’ve been pulled over. The officer has taken your license and insurance and gone back to her cruiser to run your information. She comes back to your car window and hands you a traffic ticket, your license, and your insurance. At this moment, she asks you: “Do you mind if I search your car?” Your answer should be NO. If the officer is suspicious, she will then have to explain to you (or at least say out loud for the benefit of her dash cam) her suspicions to overcome the requirement for probable cause.

Final note: If an officer insists on searching your car without explaining to you why, DO NOT get violent with the officer or say anything belligerent to the officer. If you decide that moment is perfect to quote NWA, you’ve just given the officer probable cause.


2 thoughts on “First lessons first: You don’t have to allow a search

  1. Courtney says:

    well…technically, the answer should be “YES, I do mind. I do NOT consent to the search.” 🙂 But yes, people should never agree to a search. Doing so essentially gives up their right to object to the legality of the search later which could matter based on what is found.

    • LOL! You ARE right! The words one says in this situation are very important. I feel like persons who are stopped often feel intimidated and threatened, or believe that refusing the search could lead to bigger problems. Thanks for your comment, Courtney!

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