Tooltip TextIt’s almost impossible not to be nervous when you see blue lights behind you. Your mind is either racing to figure what you did wrong, or you’re wondering how bad your ticket is going to be. In this moment, a lot of officers are counting on your anxiety to push for easy compliance when they insist that they need to search your vehicle. They’re also counting on you not knowing your rights. 

Some of our clients have been in that exact situation, and knowing your rights can keep you from unknowingly incriminating yourself if there’s something in the car that you were unaware of. If an officer ever asks to search your vehicle, remember this: 

You do not have to agree to the police search your car, no matter how nicely or firmly they ask. There is no penalty for saying no, and you can’t be arrested for not giving them permission. However, they may still be able to search your vehilce.

What should you do if you do not give consent and the police search anyway?

If the police search your car without your consent, make it very clear that you have not granted them permission, but do not get physical. You shouldn’t argue, run away, or do anything to obstruct what they’re doing. If something illegal was found and you believe that your rights have been violated, contact an attorney. If they find a reason to arrest and charge you, an experienced attorney can determine if the search was illegal. If the search was illegal and the arrest was based upon illegally seized evidence, then an experienced criminal defense attorney can try to get the charges dropped. 

However, there are situations in which you cannot legally refuse a search request, such as

  • The officer has a valid search warrant. If a judge has signed an order authorizing officers to search for specific objects or materials in your car, then you cannot deny them access.
  • The officer has probable cause to believe that you possess evidence of crime. A common situation is an officer smelling marijuana or sees something illegal in the vehicle.

Remember Your Rights

The next time that you’re pulled over, remain calm and remember your rights. You shouldn’t let the police use a minor traffic stop as an excuse to search your vehicle. If the police go against your will and search your car anyway, our team is here to protect you. 

CALL THE EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS AT GHANOUNI TEEN & YOUNG ADULT DEFENSE FIRM

If you believe that you or a child of yours was the victim of an illegal search that led to criminal or juvenile charges, call the experienced attorneys at Ghanouni Teen & Young Adult Defense Firm at 770-720-6336 for a complimentary Defense Strategy Meeting.