Should I Consent to a Search?

I get asked all the time about whether a person should consent to a search of the house, car or even his or her own body. It doesn't take me long. The answer is NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

I don't think I can be any clearer on the issue.

You have a right under The Constitution to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Exercise that right!

If a law enforcement officer asks you for consent to search, you should say, "No" every time. Be absolutely clear. Even if you "have nothing to hide." There is no real good reason to allow the police to search your premises or you body. Your refusal to agree to a search DOES NOT give law enforcement a legal reason to search you anyway. A good cop will know this.

Police will sometimes be polite about it and ask nicely. Just say, "No." Sometimes they will try and pressure you with threats and intimidation. Just say, "No."

Now, when you refuse, it should always be done in a polite and respectful manner. It is also recommended that you do not forcibly resist or you could end up with a resisting charge, and/or possibly worse, a beat down. We don't want your encounter with law enforcement escalating to violence. You also don't want to provoke the officer to not care whether he has consent and do it anyway because of your attitude. Don't think it can't happen because it does.

Why would you want a law enforcement officer groping your body, or going through you most intimate belongings just because he asked? Say "No!" Do you really want to stand on the side of the road with cars passing by, wondering if everyone else is wondering what you did to be standing on the side of the road while the cops rifle through your stuff? Trust me when I tell you that you won't like it.

Now sometimes, they may have a warrant or sufficient probable cause to conduct a search. There isn't much you can do about that but step aside and let them do what they want. You can take it up in court if they violate the law.

The thing that brings me to this is a citation I saw today that a police officer issued someone for having altered serial numbers on a firearm. The firearm was found in the person's home after the person consented to a search of their house. The citation said the officer was there on a "drug call." The officer did not have a legal basis to search the house until the home owner gave consent. And guess what, there were no drugs found. Maybe this person wanted to prove to the officer there were no drugs in the house. Bad move. If there had been no consent, there would be no charges. No need for an attorney. No need to miss time from work to go to court. And no expensive court costs and probation fees to pay. All because they didn't say, "No."

Believe it or not, I had a person charged once for possessing a prescription drug, a single Allegra pill (when it was still a prescription drug), without a prescription. It was found in the back floorboard of her car because she consented to a search. Now I made money because she consented, but it didn't have to happen.

Never, ever, consent to a search. Never say "Whatever" to a request for consent. The courts consider that consent. Say, "No." They are gonna do what they are gonna do, but don't let it be because you said "Yes."

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