Speaking with the police can be inevitable at times. While we all have our fifth amendment right to remain silent - in certain situations this can make issues much worse than they need to be. In this series, Bruce covers what you should and what you should and should not do when you've been pulled over by a police officer.
Alright, rule three when you're stopped by a police officer. Again, be nice polite don't try to talk yourself out of the situation. You're not gonna do that. And, don't consent to let them search your car. Listen, if you're gonna get a ticket you're gonna get a ticket but you don't have to agree to let them search your car: they can only search your car if you've got probable cause. So, if they ask to search your car politely say no and then ask them if you can leave if you're being detained or if you have to stay. That will draw a bright line on where your case is gonna go. And again don't agree to let them search the car and ask if you're being detained and if you're not - take your ticket and head on down the road.
When stopped by police, the average person tends to react with anxiety and being over compliant manner. However, the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects us from unlawful search and seizure. Without probable cause to search your vehicle, a police officer requires a warrant - unless you consent to the search. Even if you are not in possession of anything that is illegal, you should never consent to a search of your vehicle, above all because it is our constitutional right but also because refusing a search protects you if you end up in court. This is because if the officer does search your vehicle they will have to prove probable cause in court.
Furthermore, by denying consent to the search and then inquiring if you are being detained you are drawing a hardline with the officer who legally must detain you or let you go. Keep in mind: Detention is not the same as arrest and it's typically followed by “brief and cursory” questioning. This questioning is an indication that the officer does not have but is trying to require probable cause. If you are detained: remain as silent as possible, answer with respect, and inform the officer you will not be answering any questions without your lawyer present.
If an officer has performed an illegal search of your vehicle: Contact The Denson Firm for a Free Consultation immediately.
Or, check out part 4.
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