What Do I Do If A Cop Asks To Search My Car?

First things first, you should never consent to a vehicle search!

Regardless of whether you have anything illegal in the vehicle or not politely state your refusal to consent to the search. Undoubtedly, the officer will attempt to persuade you by asking, “what do you have to hide?” Don’t fall for these cheap tricks and most importantly, tell the officer that you are invoking your 4th Amendment Right to be free from an unreasonable search. When you use those words (“I invoke my 4th Amendment Rights”) you have placed the protection of the United States and Texas Constitutions on you and your vehicle. A simple “no” is not good enough in today’s Police State environment and that is a good reason to study your rights.

Under the 4th Amendment, police officers are required to obtain search warrants in order to search your vehicle, although various exceptions may apply. In other words, an officer’s hunch without evidence of illegal activity is not enough to legally search your Vehicle. Before searching, he must observe something real. Common examples of probable cause to search a vehicle include the sight or smell of contraband in plain view or plain smell, or an admission of guilt for a specific crime. The presence of any of these facts would allow an officer to perform a search and make an arrest.

Make ‘em work! Consenting to a search is assisting the state with building their case against you. It is likely that an officer does not have the probable cause to obtain a search warrant if he is asking for your consent. By asking for consent to search your vehicle the officer makes the search easier for the state to justify in court. Remember, the 4th Amendment protects your right to refuse search requests, but it doesn’t require police to tell you about your right to refuse. In fact, consenting to searches automatically makes them legal in the eyes of the law. So if you’re pulled over, don’t try to figure out whether or not the officer has probable cause to legally search you. You always have the right to refuse searches. Just say the magic words and invoke the 4th Amendment. The officer will be prohibited from mentioning that you invoked your rights as evidence of guilt.

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