I understand refusing a search doesn’t make me guilty, but if I’m doing nothing wrong why don’t I just let the police search me and get it done with?
You have the right to let police search you and you also have the right to refuse. The choice is yours but there are some reasons to think carefully about this. Searches can get real messy and if they damage anything you might not be compensated because you agreed to the search. Besides you never know for sure what someone might have left in your car at some point and if the police find any illegal items after you consent to a search request you can be arrested even if you had nothing to do with it. Consenting to the search request automatically makes the search legal in the eyes of the law and the Fourth Amendment doesn’t require officers to tell you about your right to refuse. So if you’re pulled over don’t try to figure out whether or not the officers have probable cause to legally search you – you always have the right to refuse searches.
But they’re gonna search us anyway?
Sometimes they will but saying no isn’t just about stopping the search. It might stop the search or it might not. The point is that refusing the search can help you later if you end up in court since if the police search you without consent your lawyer can challenge that. As your attorney, I’d be much more likely to win your case if you said no to the search.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.
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