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Do I Have to Let the Police Search Me or My Car?

Posted Thursday, April 5, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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If a police officer asks you permission to search you, your car, or your property, you have the right to say no. In fact, we encourage you to deny any requests for a search. You can politely say “I do not consent to any searches of my person or my private property.”

If the police are asking permission to search it means they do not have enough evidence or probable cause to conduct a search without your consent. Do not give up your Fourth Amendment right―your constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure.

Do I Have to Let the Police Search Me or My Car?

It depends.

Any time the police request the right to conduct a search, you have the right to refuse. You are never under an obligation to consent to a search. However, there are times when you are required to submit to a search.

In general, police are allowed to conduct a search when:

• They have a search warrant.

• Search incident to a lawful arrest.

• Exigent circumstances.

• Search of areas in plain view.

When it comes to your car, know that illegal activity is not enough for the police to legally search your car. However, police are generally granted more leeway in searching vehicles than searching private residences. This is because courts have recognized that we have a lower expectation of privacy when driving our cars than when we are in our homes.

In general, the police can search your car if:

• They have probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime in your vehicle.

• The police officer has a reasonable belief that the search is necessary for his or her own protection.

• You have been arrested and the search is related to the arrest.

Remember, you never have to give consent to a search of your person, car, or home. However, if the police have a search warrant, or one of the other valid exceptions to the prohibition against warrantless searches is present, then you do need to step aside and allow the police to perform the search.

Defending Against Criminal Charges in Washington State

Mounting a strong defense early-on helps to ensure the best outcome in your criminal case. Getting an attorney involved as soon as possible increases your odds of avoiding a conviction. If you are facing criminal charges, your life and freedom are on the line. Hiring the right attorney to defend you is critical. At Padula & Associates, LLC we understand what is at stake, and we will zealously defend you against any criminal charges filed against you.

When you hire our firm you will work directly with your attorney. You will not be pushed off to a case manager, left to wonder what is going on in your case.

Lizanne’s previous work as a Prosecutor gives her special insight into how the Prosecutor in your case operates. She knows the tactics the government uses when bringing criminal charges. Her experience affords her insider information that greatly benefits her ability to build a strong defense against any criminal charges you are facing. We invite you to learn more about Lizanne here.

The skilled attorneys at Padula & Associates, LLC can help you fight the charges that have been filed against you. We answer the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We offer free consultations. Call us 24/7 at 425-883-3366 or contact us on the web to schedule your fee consultation today.

Our firm handles State and Federal criminal cases throughout Washington State, including King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Lewis Counties.