Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Search or Seizure?

Suppose you are driving home late at night, coming home from working out with your brother, and get pulled over for "misuse of a turn signal", which equates to having turned it on within 100 feet of the turn, instead of signaling more than 100 feet before the turn.

The cop informs you of why they pulled you over. He asks for license, insurance, etc. You provide it. He asks you to step out of the vehicle. You comply. He searches your person. You allow it.

Then, he asks to search your vehicle.

You have not been drinking or doing drugs, you were not swerving, you were not rude or otherwise disorderly with the policeman, and you provided all information requested.

Do you allow him to search the vehicle without probable cause or suspicion? What happens if you refuse to let him? Is it legal for him to arrest you for refusing to let him search? What's the best response in this type of situation?


jude said...

I think it varies by state, but in Ohio I am pretty sure that if you do not consent, then they would need to obtain a search warrant. It the case you outlined, I think my attitude would be kicking in and I would refuse the search. here via michele's

KaraMia said...

oh geez, well, in Washington, I believe if they have probably cause, they do not need your permission to search. I think you might be able to refuse...but, for instance, when being suspected of drunk driving, you have the right to refuse any tests, but then the police have the right to take you down to the station to test you, might be consequences for refusing...strange. My instinct is your vehicle matched a description of someone they were looking for. hmmmmm
here via michele today

deana said...

I think it is a waste of valuable time. It seems they never see the drunks I have to follow home all over the road or the truck of boys passing me on solid lines running 90 that I pray won't hit some poor innocent down the road. But they have pulled me for running 5 miles over the limit! Maybe some are afraid to go after real criminals.

Michele says hi.

Im Chele In [dot] LA said...

I say no and ask the officer to call a female officer and a field Supervisor.
Then I sit in my car with the window up, until the other officers get to the scene.
Over from the other Michele's...

Malinda777 said...

I would comply. I'm one of those that believes because I have nothing to hide, I don't care if they search... but I would file a formal complaint, and make a scene in the local newspaper or something. Your rights were violated.

Here from Michele

the Intuitive Woman said...

I appreciate all of your feedback. It's not that I wouldn't comply, it's just the principle of the thing. They had no reason to search, and I was under the impression that to do so would be an illegal search and seizure. Cops have a way of getting on their high horse, and it ticks me off they think they can do what they want sometimes, assuming civilians do not know their rights. Which, in many cases, is true.

Carmi said...

I think the cop was power tripping. "Within 100 feet" give me a break! As if the world doesn't have other major transgressions going on at that very moment. Losers, all of them.

I would let 'em in. If they want to go through the mess that my kids have made in the back of the minivan, good on 'em. They deserve to have a ziploc bag full of mashed potato chips "accidentally" open on their uniforms.

Carmi said...

BTW, saw your link on Michele's and thought I'd drop in and say hi.