Should I consent to a police-search of my vehicle when pulled over?

October 26, 2021 - Categories: Legal Articles

Sometimes, when you are pulled over by a police officer, either while you are driving or at a traffic stop, the officer will tell you that they want to search your vehicle. They might not ask nicely. 

In cases like these, especially if you have done nothing wrong, your first instinct might be to object, or you might become angry. However, while those are natural responses, it’s important to note that attempting to physically prevent a search can lead to charges of obstruction or assaulting an officer, or you might even be injured in a struggle. So, it’s never a good idea to try to physically prevent a search. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to consent either. In fact, if you state that you do not consent, any action the officer takes would probably be an illegal search. Here’s what you need to know. 

Voice Your Objection

When you’re stopped by a police officer, you have the right to remain silent, and you do not have to answer any questions. In fact, we recommend that you don’t! 

However, if a police officer asks to search your vehicle, you should always state that you do not consent. This won’t necessarily stop them from conducting the search anyway, but it will help to protect your rights. 

Remain Calm 

Sometimes, when the police interact with the public, they can be heavy handed. A forced search of your vehicle or your person can make you feel angry and violated. It’s important not to act on those feelings though. 

Most searches without a warrant are illegal and unreasonable, so if you have told the officer that you do not give them permission to do the search, you’ve already done everything you need to protect your rights. Simply remain calm, and no matter what happens, don’t allow yourself to be drawn into an argument or altercation. 

If the officer does find something or claims to have found something, all you need to do is stay calm and silent, and request to speak to an attorney. Police officers do not automatically have the right to inspect your vehicle, and you do not have to consent. In fact, whether you have any reason to or not, we always recommend that you do not consent to any kind of search or inspection. 

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