How to Handle Search Requests

How to Handle Search Requests

The following are LEARN Channel tips (Nos. 5 and 7 in the video) that can help you avoid search and seizure and cannabis-related arrests.

Refuse all search requests. Do not under any circumstances consent to a search of your property. That includes your car, house and property. The police will consistently ask citizens to consent, and they often make promises to ignore violations of the law or threaten to get K9 units or a warrant. Bottomline, if the police do not have probable cause, they cannot legally search your property. If they do search without consent and they cannot prove probable cause, you have a strong argument that your case should be dismissed. Let them know firmly but politely, “I do not consent to having my property searched.” Also, police can only bring dogs in the time it takes for them to complete the task upon which the original probable cause was based. So, if you are pulled over for speeding, the officer cannot hold you there longer than it takes to issue the ticket, run your registration, etc. If they hold you after, make sure to ask if you are free to go once again and inform them that they may not hold you absent probable cause to do so.

Never physically resist a search or arrest. Even if you believe the search is illegal or a violation of your rights, you need to comply with whatever the police officer asks you to do. That means, if the officer says, “Step out of the car,” you do so. If they start to search your car or property without your permission, say, “I do not consent to having my property searched,” but do not physically attempt to stop the search either. If you do not know if an officer is requesting or demanding your compliance, reply, “I do not consent to having my property searched.” That said, if you must step out of the vehicle, roll up the windows, lock the doors and place the keys in your pocket. This will make it more difficult for the police to lie and say you consented to a search of your car, especially if you can get your phone out and record or if they have a recording device in their car. This forces them to get a warrant or break in. If you feel it is moving in this direction, ask for the officer’s name, badge number and to see a photo identification. He may ask why, in which case you can say you heard about fake cops pulling people over, or you can take the badass approach again informing him that it is a request with which he must comply and that it does not matter what your reasoning is.

Photo credit: Averie Woodard. 

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