Being pulled over by a police officer, whether you broke the law or not, can be terrifying. But knowing your rights, when it comes to being searched, can help you better prepare for such situations. The 4th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. The police must have strong evidence (probable cause) to search you or your property without your permission.
Know Your Rights
You have the right to refuse random police searches anywhere and anytime, the only exceptions to this right is if you are crossing the border or entering a secured building, such as an airport. It is important to remember this right because the police are searching for evidence that you may have committed a crime so that they can arrest you.
If a police officer finds any evidence against you and you refused the search, it will give your lawyer a good chance at winning your case. If you agree to a search, and there is any chance there may be evidence to be found, it could kill your case before you even get to court.
Police routinely ask for permission to search even if there is no evidence of an actual crime so if you refuse a search most of the time they’ll back down. It would be a waste of time for them to do a search if any evidence they find won’t hold up in court.
Police searches can be time consuming. The average amount of time it takes for them to do a thorough search of a vehicle is about half an hour, and could take hours for them to search a house. They also could damage some of your property, and you can’t be sure that the officers who do the search will be careful with your personal belongings. If you agree to a search of your car or home, you give up most of your legal options if anything is missing or damaged.
Unwarranted Searches and Your Rights
It is important that if you are in a situation where the police want to do a random search of your property that you know your rights. You should be sure to stay calm and just refuse the search. Your attitude and demeanor before, after, and during the search can be more important than your knowledge if the law. If you feel uncomfortable about the situation you can always report misconduct afterwards.
Contact us today if you have any questions about unwarranted searches!