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The police want to search my car. Should I agree?

04 Jul

Most police officers are reasonably hard-working. They have a job to do. Their job is to catch people who break the law. The ones that work the hardest do not sit around waiting to see if someone will commit a crime right in front of them. No, they go looking for evildoers to arrest. Like I said, it’s their job.

If the police pull me over about a bad tail light, I am relieved to find that I am only getting a warning. But then the officer asks: “Say, before you go, would you mind if I search your car.”

This happens more often than you may imagine. He may want to search clothing too, or a purse. Depending on how things develop, he may even say: “How ’bout we go over and search your house?” What should I do?

I suppose if I’d lost something and wanted Officer Friendly to help me find it, I would be grateful for the help. Perhaps terrorists have taken over my back seat and this is my chance to escape.

searchOtherwise though, I’m having trouble thinking of reasons why I would agree to having a stranger nosing around in my stuff. No matter if I have anything to hide or not, it seems unlikely that having my car tossed is going to get me on my way any sooner. I’m not talking about being rude; not talking about physically resisting a search. I’m just talking about NOT AGREEING to a search.

It seems like a no-brainer when you put it that way, doesn’t it? Actually, people agree to those searches by the thousands. And criminal cases are filed all the time as a result of searches that the citizen simply agreed to.

Bottom line: I can always say no. No law requires me (or the average citizen) to agree to this invasion of my privacy. If the officer actually has legal grounds to search, he’s going to go ahead and search anyway, with or without my permission.



 

Leave a Reply

 

 
  1. Constance E. Cumbey

    February 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Hi Randy,

    Excellent advice. You’ve always got your head on straight.

    Constance

     
  2. elkshorn

    January 29, 2010 at 7:25 am

    My son, who has ADHD has agreed to be searched several times. This angers me because if he was a female or didn’t have ADHD I feel the cops wouldn’t be picking on him. I have been stopped many times and usually not got a ticket and never asked to seach. I believe my son is being profiled.

     
  3. mimisherman

    July 1, 2010 at 12:09 am

    You are a felon, told there is a stop warrant out on you, you are put in handcuffs, patted down, then keys are found to a vehicle that you are not in or standing next to. Told that your car is going to be searched although you say its not your car. It is searched anyway. You know there is no warrant out on you and verify the fact later on kdoc. Is this considered an illegal search?